booksAre you worried about No Child Left Behind? The genesis of the movement seemed to be that all children should receive an adequate education, because all children are able to learn. And I do agree with that. Everyone deserves not just an adequate education – but a good one. But what about gifted students? Are they getting left behind? Is anyone worrying about them?

As the parent of a third grade bookworm, I see it nearly every day. He excitedly reports on what book he has finished in school (finishing 2 – 3 novels a week) and then shrugs a little and notes how dull much of the day was. It’s wearing on everyone in my house, I assure you. I don’t know whether to argue with the teacher that having him repeat basic math tasks at home is pointless – so he should be exempt from the homework, or to argue that he should get work that challenges him. Should I show my frustration (again) that the spelling words are not advancing his vocabulary, but are just make-work for a kid who has already grasped most third grade spelling concepts? And can science be more than vocabulary acquisition at this stage? Can the children dig a little deeper, on occasion, to try and understand the “why” behind a scientific property, not just the scientific property?

I’m walking that fine line of trying to advocate for my child, recognizing that the teacher has 25 children with sometimes very different needs in her class, and trying not to annoy the teacher by asking for “too much”. What is “too much”, anyway?

Should I be thrilled that my child loves to read? Or should I be annoyed that my child has spent more hours than I care to add up reading at his desk this year, waiting for something more interesting to come his way?

How many times must one meet with a teacher until one is heard?

I know, in my heart, that I’m lucky to have my problems. I’m grateful that they seem to be on the easily solvable side. But my goodness, this year has been frustrating!cLet’s reframe this debate. When we talk about no child being left behind, let’s really think about all children, not just some children.

Elaine is the frustrated parent of a third grader. She writes about her children and other things that don’t make sense over at Connor and Helen Grow Up.