A Letter to the Governor - Template Letter
Dear Governor ____________,
In your plan to develop the best educated, most highly trained workforce on the planet… you neglected to put a plan into place to strengthen and expand the educational opportunities for special education students like my son. In fact, your plan is not working to keep MY CHILD on the path to a high school diploma at all, which is going to make it nearly impossible for him to be successful in this new world of work you speak of. Your rigorous graduation standards are killing my 10th grade child’s self-esteem, because his school doesn’t have a program that meets his special needs anymore.
My son was in a Cognitive Classroom for most of his school career, and he tested a few points too high for that program at the end of his 8th grade year. Normally, children like my son (with a very low IQ) would be moved into a small resource classroom where special education teachers would work with him at a level that he is able to comprehend. In my son’s case, even though he is 16 years old and in the 10th grade… he would have been working to master multiplication and division. Instead, he was dying in an algebra class that he has no chance of comprehending due to his low IQ. I’ve pleaded with the school, and they continued to apologize and say that he had to be in that class. My son also reads and writes at a 3rd/4th grade level, and he should be allowed the opportunity to attend a small resource type classroom where they can meet him where he’s currently functioning… and attempt to help him move forward one day at a time. Needless to say, this isn’t happening.
My son began 9th grade at ____________ High School last school year and melted down emotionally before the first marking period was completed. We had no other choice but to take him home and home-school him. He was crying every day that the work was too hard, and he seriously had no clue what he was supposed to be doing in most of his classes. Most of the teacher’s TRIED to help him, but no matter how much they tried to help… the material was still way above my son’s ability to comprehend. The other children laughed and called him a retard, asked him if he even knew how to read, and taunted him until he couldn’t take it anymore. We brought him home because the school didn’t have the proper program to teach him without killing his self-esteem and making him feel stupid.
This year (10th grade)… he asked if he could go back to school to try again. My son came to me and told me that he NEEDED to go back to school because he wanted to get smarter. He said that he wanted to get a high school diploma like his brother and sister, so that he could be somebody… and get a good job… and get married… and buy a house. I re-enrolled him at the beginning of second semester and he was thrilled. He woke up every morning and we could hear him singing in the shower, and talking about his dream of attending KCTC in 11th and 12th grade, so that he could learn how to fix cars and BE SOMEBODY. Last, week… he melted down again and he had to come back home. Again, the school tried to make the work easier and simplify it to the point that he might have some chance of comprehending… yet he still couldn’t survive in those classes. At home, he cried and said that the history book looked like a big dictionary of words that were too hard for him to understand. He cried and said that he didn’t understand the Math. He said that his math teacher told him that he didn’t belong in high school if he couldn’t do the work. He cried and said that he had no clue what he was supposed to do in his Technology class. He cried and said that the kids were smirking at him when he was trying to read out loud in his English class. He cried and he cried and he cried… and then he told me that he couldn’t do the work and needed to come back home.
My son was adopted many years ago. He had a rough start in life because he was born addicted to Crack Cocaine. He was then physically abused and neglected for the first 3 ½ years of his life… as well as sexually abused by numerous people. He had a drug addicted birth-mother, and an alcoholic birth-father. His birth-mother prostituted herself in front of him, overdosed him with drugs to keep him quiet, left him home alone all night… and then she passed out for most of the day. When she was having an extremely off day… she would cut herself and smear her blood all over his body. I have spent the last 13 years attempting to save this kid and keep him moving forward, when the experts predicted that he was a lost cause… and would someday be living in a state run residential treatment facility. My child is a fighter, and he has managed to survive situations that you couldn’t even begin to understand… and now SCHOOL is taking him down. We tried putting him in the emotionally impaired program, and we were told by staff that he didn’t belong there because he was a GOOD KID. All of his friends are in the Cognitive Classroom, which is all he has ever known… and he misses them so badly and wants to be with them again. Yet, he is being punished because he tested a few points too high for that Particular program. We should be celebrating his success, and instead we are grieving it… because he is stuck in these classes that are too far above his ability to comprehend. He should be working on multiplication…. not crying over algebra. He should be reading 4th grade level books… not trying to sift his way through 10th grade English, History and Science Books that may as well be written in Japanese.
Although I understand and appreciate the fact that you want to embrace a culture of life-long learning, and prepare our children for this new economy… I beg you to please do something to help the children like mine who want to be in school so badly. My child deserves to be in school, and school has now changed to the point where my child can’t make it in school due to his low IQ… comprehension difficulties… and language deficits. There is something very wrong with this!
I beg you to go back and take a second look at these special children like mine. The children who really want to be in school… and want to learn… and want to have friends… and who really just want someone to give them the opportunity to grow up to BE SOMEBODY. Please consider bringing back the smaller resource classrooms, where these children with the really low IQ’s can go to have some type of success in school… even if they are only working for a Certificate of Completion and not a regular high school diploma. My son deserves to walk across that stage on graduation day, and if something doesn’t change… he will never have the opportunity to do this. My child’s future and self-esteem is depending on you to make some changes.