Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Inefficiency at it's best.

Have you ever wondered how some children fall through the cracks at school? I have. Maybe it's just me, but if a child needs help in school, it should be given to him or her. I know a few people who have had issues trying to get basic skills instruction (BSI) for their children who clearly need it. In fact, I know one child who as a result of not getting the help he needed failed and had to repeat the grade he was in. The parents pleaded with the teacher to get their son the help he needed and the requests went unheeded. Another family I know couldn't get their son who was struggling into the BSI program at our public school. As a result, they had to pay a tutoring service to give their son the help he needed.

So imagine my shock when a letter came home telling me that my child who gets A's and B's in math has been placed in the BSI math program. Yes, the child who can do math that hasn't even been introduced to the third graders has been flagged as needing extra help. The lowest grade she has received in math this year is an 89% on a timed math facts quiz. She gets checks and check plusses on all of her homework and classwork. Does it not seem odd that she was placed in the BSI program?

I called the teacher and discussed the issue with her. She told me she feels Madeline does not belong in the program under any circumstances. She spoke to her sister, Madeline's second grade teacher, and she saw no reason for her to be receiving BSI either. So I asked her why Madeline was selected for BSI. Can you believe that they're basing all of this on one end of year test (that I'm betting they told the kids didn't count)? Madeline's teacher feels this is a poor way of assessing whether a child needs extra help. She also told me that there are other children in her class that actually need the help and didn't "qualify" for it based on the test.

I asked her teacher how we go about opting her out of this and I was told that we can't. Isn't that crazy. I let her know that if my child can't be opted out of the program that I'd just pull her out of school and homeschool her. After talking at length with her, we decided that the best course of action would be to write a note stating that we do not grant our consent for her to participate in the BSI program and to give the spot to someone who needs it. Her teacher tells me she will talk to the BSI teacher and explain to her that Madeline is more than capable of doing the classwork with no special instruction.

If our request to have our very bright and capable child removed from BSI is not granted I may be a homeschooling mom in the near future. I hope the BSI team feels stupid when they read my letter detailing how flawed their selection process is. I also listed all the areas of math we covered while I homeschooled her over Summer vacation. Yes, put the child who can do multiplication, add and subtract fractions, and do decimal work in BSI. That makes loads of sense!


  1. I'm simply amazed that they don't even consult the teacher to see if she feels the child needs extra help. The BSI team is going off of one test given at the end of the year that I'm betting they told the kids "didn't count". Madeline is the kind of kid who won't put any effort into a test that doesn't count (Really, what's the point if it doesn't count?). I highlighted in the letter that this is precisely the reason children who do need help fall through the cracks. I also suggested that they seek to help a child who struggles to get a C or D instead of trying to help the child who gets a B without even trying. I'd be amazed if the worst math students in the 3rd grade at our school were B students. Madeline's teacher tells me that she has several students that she has recommended for the BSI program because they actually need the help, and they were denied because students like Madeline were seen as having a greater need.

  2. OK, pull me previous q on what BSI means. I always read your most current post and then work back to where I left off last time. This must be so frustrating for you and way to go for not "letting it go".


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