Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Martin can't read

Martin Can't Read
I have a really sweet kid in one of my classes. He's really sweet. He's really quiet. He can't read. And he's 16. Another day in the life of a teacher hating the education system and wondering how kids just fall through the cracks. Martin has more recently become complacent with not being able to read anywhere near grade level. He doesn't come to tutorials anymore, he barely does his work and he refuses to read during silent reading time. I was pretty much at a loss for what had caused this behavior so I called his sister and asked her to come in.  
It is amazing what a little bit of information can do for your insight on a person. Turns our Martin is 16 and in the seventh grade because his father never let him go to the summer school programs that he was always asked to attend. He always failed TAKS, so he always had to go to be promoted. Because he didn't go he didn't move on to the next grade. Now he is in a place where he is the oldest by far of all his peers and still academically trailing them.  
I guess sort of luckily, Martin's father's health has been failing so his sister is now in control of his education. She is determined to see him graduate high school and do something with his life. Her sympathy and passion for his situation is touching in a very sad "you have no idea the kinds of hurdles your brother is up against" kind of way.  
I'm trying to find Martin a school that will help him catch up in his reading level, but right now there's not much to be seen. Good schools which actually catch you up and aren't just a holding tank for public school drop outs are few and far between.  

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