Why I’m for school choice, as a special needs parent

With the revelation a year ago that our twin daughters have dyslexia, we joined the millions across the country who are parenting children with learning disabilities. We now know that our kids have special needs, and we must navigate the education system accordingly.

img_0358-001
The first day of kindergarten

We were shocked to discover that our public school could not help us with dyslexia. They were not even aware of the signs. For almost two years, we asked “Why are the girls having so much trouble learning to read? Why is this going so slowly and so painfully?” Neither their kindergarten nor their first grade teacher had answers. They told us to just keep working at home while they worked at school, and it would eventually click. It never clicked. In first grade, the girls started seeing the school reading specialist several times a week. We asked her, too. All she could point to was their anxiety about reading.

Finally, I grew suspicious and googled symptoms of dyslexia. The girls were textbook cases. An outside evaluation later confirmed this. Why had the teachers at school not seen this? As I talked with them about it, I learned that they had not been trained to spot dyslexia. Not even the reading specialist. How could this be? Research indicates that up to 15% of the population may be dyslexic, and yet public school teachers have not been trained to spot the signs? Even if only 5% of schoolchildren are dyslexic, that still adds up to 2.5 million children this year. Continue reading “Why I’m for school choice, as a special needs parent”

Making sense of the news in the Trump era

img_2995
The view from where I sit

Ten days in, it is clear that one of the main tasks of responsible citizens during the Trump administration is to distinguish facts from fiction, hysteria from reasoned analysis. This, of course, is always the task of a responsible citizen, but it becomes paramount with an administration happy to baldy lie about the most trivial issues and a media driven to hysteria by every move the administration makes.

As much as I wish Donald Trump were not President and as much as I doubt his competence, I am unwilling to assume that every single action he takes is abhorrent and wrong-headed. I have neither the emotional stamina to live in outrage for four years nor the confidence that continual panic serves the common good. Instead, I must sort through the facts, do my best to discern the truth, and then pick my battles. Which actions and appointees are tolerable, and which ones threaten our democracy?

Continue reading “Making sense of the news in the Trump era”

My kids’ top three “projects” in 2016

My children were as busy as worker bees in 2016. Grand imagination and poor engineering abounded. I’ve examined the photographic evidence and selected their top three “projects” of 2016. Points were awarded for inventive use of materials, realism, and tape quantity. In no particular order, I give you:

Camp Goesch

img_1204

Do you notice anything about this sign?

Perhaps that the children misspelled their own last name? They had been on summer break for one day at this point. Summer slide is real, people. Continue reading “My kids’ top three “projects” in 2016″

How Hidden Figures haunts me

I took my oldest daughter to see Hidden Figures last weekend—a remarkable story that is very well told. It has something for everyone. Math geeks, feminists, space enthusiasts, romantics, justice advocates, history buffs—all will appreciate this movie. My daughter enjoyed it as much as I did.

One aspect of the story haunts me. (Besides the analytic geometry.)  I am nagged by the question, How could all those well-meaning white people not see the injustice they were perpetrating on those African American women? Continue reading “How Hidden Figures haunts me”

Why I can’t look down on the working class

 

Like many in America, I have been thinking a lot about class, race, and elite education recently. I have been taking a hard look at my position in society.

The truth is that I have lived most of my life in educated, upper class circles. I grew up in a wealthy suburb of Chicago, and both my parents have graduate degrees. I attended an elite (though public) college and married a man who did also. We currently live in a town that is famous for its liberal politics and the education level of its populace. If I’m honest, the progressive, upper-middle class are my people.  But I have never assumed they were the only people that mattered.

I have never felt at liberty to look down on the working classAnd this is for at least one reason: they are more skilled than me in lots of ways. The truth is that they can do all sorts of things I cannot. Continue reading “Why I can’t look down on the working class”

My most-read posts of 2016

my-top-6-posts

Some of you have already raced into the new year. Eager for a fresh start, you’ve put away both the Christmas decorations and 2016.

Others of us are cleaning our slates more slowly. We’re still sitting under Christmas lights, reflecting a bit longer on 2016 before we turn our faces to what lies ahead.

I am in the slower bunch. As I mull over 2016, I’m curious about what in my own writing sparked the most interest. Below are my most widely read posts from the past year. They land on the weighty rather than the frivolous.

1. What a vote for Trump says to black Americans (written several weeks before the election)

2. On Brock Turner, consequences, and purple crayons

3. Why we let our kids play with Barbies

4. Telling the truth about our different heritages

5. A tie: It’s not too late to do what’s right and If I could have a word with my Christian friends (both written shortly after the election)

 

©Laura Goetsch and Thinking About Such Things, 2017