Did you know that a student can only ever repeat a grade one time? Did you know that children cannot be tested for learning disabilities until they have failing grades already? Did you know those failing grades only matter to the poor child who gets them (and their parents and teachers), because we can only hold them back one time anyway? This is what we call not leaving children behind? Forcing them to sacrifice all self-confidence about schooling before we are willing to help them? Forcing teachers to stop intervening for a time so that a committee of other teachers can assign interventions when the child’s grades get low enough – often the same interventions the teacher was using in the first place? We wonder why people don’t want to be teachers? No money for salaries or copy paper, no respect from the government who tells them what to do with students who no politician has ever laid eyes on, paperwork from here to eternity, and the kids are STILL left behind. Or promoted to the next grade regardless of their readiness for it. Not the ones who do well in school anyway, of course, just the ones who need help! But don’t think I’m blaming the school or the teachers. Their hands are tied. We are trying to circumvent the system with our daughter who is still struggling with reading and test-taking after repeating first grade. She finally feels good about herself and school and now I have to let her fail in order to get her tested. Hell no. Sorry. I’ll pay for testing elsewhere; I’ll forgo my own plans so I’m free to help her; I’ll do what needs to be done. She does need to read well, but she doesn’t need an F on a report card before I’ll pay attention. And shame on the system for telling anyone that failure is required before help can even be sought. I am glad for all of you who have no idea what I’m talking about because your kids have no problems at school. I have one of those kids too. It’s nice. But there are a lot of those other kids (and parents) out there too. The public school system is a labyrinth of rules and regulations that attempt to force every child to fit a certain profile and excel in exactly the same way. So we don’t fall behind other countries. Meanwhile, kids still care more about grades than the actual learning process, and we continue to lament the falling standards, re-centered test averages, competitive disadvantages, and general “dumbing down” of America. Doctors generally prefer not to try to resuscitate the dead – they would rather treat people in the early stages of illness. Why are educational problems so different?