Sunday, October 20, 2013

Unable to make this stuff up-

I wish we could make this stuff up- so many people think we are elaborating or being facetious. I WISH!!
Recently our son was supposed be taking an incomplete as a grade for his Foods class and not attending the class after last week.  He was supposed re-take the class at no charge next semester, at night, with a new teacher.  His current teacher does not feel she is equipped to teach him and does not feel he is a good fit with her method of teaching. 

Fortunately, our son has been miserable in this class for weeks now.  From what we can tell the teacher is not teaching the class that he signed up for and has created her own version of the class.  The class’s course description indicates it is designed to teach introduction to food preparation and then the next session, which you would take the next semester, is food production.  This teacher has decided to go straight to food production, skipping over those pesky food safety and safe handling regulations.  And no there are no pre-requisites for this course; it is supposed to be one of the first food classes you take in your journey to a degree.
With the teacher change, that supposedly was pre-approved- well it wasn't. The "new" teacher never got back to the "old" teacher and the boy found out the night before that he was expected to be back in class that next day. WTF?!
Department supported her decision to have our son essentially removed from the class.  His academic “advisor” indicated that our belief that this is discrimination is not true, because the teacher claims she wants him in her class and feels he can do the work, (as it is  her idea to place him with another teacher, in the same course)  he just is not responding to her style of teaching (or lack thereof).  She feels he is under un-due stress by her teaching methods and only has his best interest, as does the Department, at heart.  We were told we should talk to the teacher, even though we asked for a meeting with her and the Department, which at the time, did not make this happen and teachers are not required to or encouraged to speak to parents, so it would be extremely hard to get a call back from a person who has no obligation to speak to us and who has no office hours (although we do pay her salary and support the colleges tax referendums- rather a Catch 22 for them).  Surprisingly, our son had to give the advisor the teacher’s phone number, the school does not have a data base of teacher’s phone numbers, only email addresses.
In his defense, our son has been in Foods related classes now for 7 years.  He has worked the last three summers in the kitchens of the Marriot and the Westin, as well as the cafeterias of the Middle School and High School, and has taken cooking classes on his own through Community Education, all with minimal negative feedback and much positive feedback.  One local chef was so pleased to have the boy in his class he offered him a job. All the boy did was point out that he was scalding his chocolate (not intentionally).
We are beyond disappointed with the Department.  Essentially the only service they offer a student with Autism is extended time on tests.  Provided your student turns in a week before the test the correct extended time test request form, on duplicating paper (think of the old credit card multi-part carbon receipts), and makes sure the appropriate copies of the form end up in the appropriate places before the test.  This must occur before each and every test in every class.  When asked why one form per class for the entire year is not sufficient you would have thought the world was going to end, as we were told the policy is one form for every test, as situations may change from test to test.  Luckily I guess they believe remedial math will cure Autism, here’s hoping they are right.   Please take particular note of the wording “correct extend time test request form,” there are more than one form, they gave our son the wrong extended time test request form for the first test he took.
Their version of note-taking consists of giving the student a form to take to class, and ask people if they would like to take notes, if they say yes, the form gets returned to their office and voila you have a note taker.  If there is no fellow student willing to do the job there are no notes.  If you need to see an advisor, please fill out the appropriate academic advising appointment request form and submit it to the reception desk of the Department, if you have an appointment submit the appropriate academic advisement waiting to see an advisor form and submit it to the receptionist.  And no we can not make this up, you have to fill out a form to see the advisor even though you have an appointment to see the advisor.
Our son is also in the remedial math class, which you can only register for if you have a (wait for it)…..a form from the Department authorizing you to take the class and you turn the form in to the correct window at the Registrar’s Office, in duplicate of course.  Class is not going well, the teacher the Department has teaching the class is giving the students one type of problem in class and another type on the tests.  He gives a total of 3-7 homework problems for any concept and then tests them.  It is a wonderful class. There is little consistency, homework is a joke, and the tests are really, um, interesting. Oh I forgot to mention that there is no book- the book we were told to purchase via the bookstore was not the right one. Then we had to purchase ANOTHER book and this one is on our compter. The computer book isn't the coursebook either, it is for extra credit, and the problems are not consistent either (do you see a pattern here).
 The Department sees nothing wrong with our current situation.  The Foods teacher has only the student’s best interests at heart.  Rather than permanently black ball our son by taking this issue outside of the Department, we are making our notes and building our case for a later date.  We do not support and have never support discrimination and separate equal policies.
We should have known as soon as we saw "Disability" in the name the program was ineffective, "Access Services", "Inclusion Services", "Office of Equality and Inclusion", all would be appropriate names.  “Professionals” who feel "Disability" is correct terms to use in a college or school setting obviously do not understand their role in society.  Please let people know that the school our son attends does not offer Autism services other than extended time (provided the correct form is turned in) and that if your Autistic Student is discriminated against they will not help you. 

Oddly enough, we don't believe the director of the department thinks that way. We have met with him and he has his game on. He does know what would tick parents off and finding out that a course does not match what the kids/parents/scholarships are paying for means that the course and subsequent dipolma are not worth the paper they are printed on. When the cuter half pointed that out, I think he got it and realized that although we are as hard as nails we also are not completely stupid. Ideally we would like to think that he heard what the counselor and teacher were up to and wanted to get the problem sorted out.
At least we hope so.
If anyone has an suggestions as to how we wrap our mind around being told that this is not a case of discrimination, prejudice and or bias please let us know, as Department feels that a teacher saying, "I want him in my class, BUT …" is an acceptable response. 

A pig is a pig no matter how much lipstick you put on it.

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