Saturday, June 04, 2005

The $50 Ripped Page

Yesterday I accompanied Morena, Santiago’s mom, to her meeting with the Flintstone Elementary School (yes, that is really the name of the school!) staff who had recently tested Santiago. Before the meeting as we were sitting around waiting to be called in, she showed me a letter that Santiago had brought home which stated that he had to pay $50 for a lost textbook. She explained to me that the book had been returned to the school with a piece of tape over a tear in one page. The letter clearly stated that her son would not be allowed to proceed to the next grade unless the fee was paid. OUTRAGE! This is what poor immigrant families are faced with all the time. After a few inquiries, I found a person who knew something about the textbook situation. She pulled out the official rules and found something that said that the fine on a book that was not actually lost would be prorated according to the damage and that “normal wear and tear” was to be considered. She was white, whereas every other face I saw at the school in an administrative position of any kind was black. Am I prejudiced? Without a doubt when it comes to things like this that demand thinking and reasonableness. By the time we left, the fine had been dismissed and her son, who still can’t read, was eligible to be graduated out of the 4th grade.

I’m trying to get geared up for a crash tutoring course over the summer to teach this kid how to read. The tests show that he has some ability, which I intend to tap into. I don’t have training as a teacher, but I am a firm believer in phonics. If you are reading this and you know ANYTHING about how to teach a non-reader, please let me know so that I don’t waste his time and mine. I will feel so good if by the time he goes to 5th grade he can read. I would feel even better if he came to LIKE reading. Reading will be his ticket to worlds he will never be able to afford to visit otherwise...


Blogger Dsquared said...

Ask Jennifer F. and Susan F. Melissa may have some suggestions too

10:19 PM  

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