Just found out a freshman of mine, Rosa, up and moved to Texas over the weekend.
No notice. No official checking out of school. No goodbye. Just Texas.
Also, no final exam, no final project, no completion of her last few assignments for my class or anything remotely tied to properly closing down shop. We have two full weeks left of school but not for Rosa. According to her friends, she’s left Los Angeles for good. And why?
Because her sister got pregnant. That’s right, her sister.
See, Rosa’s sister is/was a junior at our high school. Apparently, her mom blew a gasket over the weekend, kicked one or both of them out of the house upon hearing this news (details are fuzzy) and now they are off to live in the Lone Star state with their dad, a guy who hasn’t had any sort of presence in their life for a decade.
Of course the guy who contributed to the Rosa’s-sister-will-be-having-a-baby is a total no-show in all of this as well. Wow, that’s original.
BTW, I just checked my calendar and realized that No Child Left Behind is mandating that all my students are at 100% proficiency by the year 2014. Just how exactly do they expect me to deal with this kind of stuff? I mean Rosa was a C-/D+ student before her end of the year disappearance, struggling to even maintain regular attendance (though she did discover reading this year in my class. The book 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher really hit a chord with her.)
Now, I’m not sure if she’ll get a D, a D- or an F. (I’ve yet to do the 4rth quarter’s math but it ain’t lookin’ pretty.) And just Friday I gave her the ol’, “It’s the 4rth quarter, you need to finish strong,” speech. However, does her final grade really make that much of a difference anymore? Truly, is there applause and pride to be found in a D-, like “Yo, at least I didn’t get an F!”
Is Rosa even concerned in the slightest right now about school?
Education is an upper level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and when the bottom rung has been threatened, everything up above appears as a luxury.
School has now become a luxury to this 15 year old, a luxury I am assuming she doesn’t think she can afford.
Really, is Rosa going to enroll in school in Texas? And with NCLB ready to demonize schools who are not at 100% student proficiency in the next 4 1/2 years, are schools in Texas really going to be stretching out a set of open arms welcoming in kids who are almost assured of lowering their test scores and aggravating their dropout rates?
The school Rosa just left will be punished for trying to help Rosa because NCLB demonizes us for low bubble test performance. The school Rosa will enter, if she does enter school, will also be punished for trying to help because to think she’s not going to need some remediation, some extra assistance, some academic “love” is incredibly naive.
But she did make progress of some sort this year in my class. How do I know? Because 13 Reasons Why is a book about teen suicide and Rosa, after she read it, told me it made her feel better in a way that told me oh-so-much more.
NCLB may not think Lynwood High School did anything positive for Rosa, and they are certainly on track to take our school out to the whipping shed next year due to our inferior bubbles, but those of us who do this day in and day out know there’s a flip side to the flip side of this coin.