Archive for December 5, 2011

Lorain City Schools- What will it take- The Ugly (My Ugly)

Part One – The GOOD

Part Two – The BAD

I have said for many years that I am a surface dweller when it came to the “business” of Lorain City Schools. Why?

I live in Lorain- lived across the street from a “neighborhood school”- had two children that needed to be educated- I was and am still an “involved” parent – and yet I know very little about Lorain City Schools. So what happened that someone with that curriculum vitæ becomes a surface dweller?

Lorain City Schools happened! I won’t go in-depth as to situations but a short history. AND as usual there are names, witnesses to all events mentioned.


My daughter and her little friends crossed the street every morning to go to “their school”, Irving – all was well – through kindergarten until 2nd grade. The little “girls” who lived on this street and played Barbie’s and Strawberry Shortcake started not wanting to go to school- two even developed stomach issues and would stand crying by the fire hydrant every morning as they lined up to go. They went to Dr.s and finally it was determined they were just plain scared to go to school.

It was a long detective story, finding mothers standing outside and under the open window of the classroom to eventually find the problem. The “teaching style” of their 2nd grade teacher including accidental hairpulling when “her ” bracelets kept getting entangled with the children’s hair. The three little girls were scared they too would become the victim of the bracelet and her wrath.

The mothers met with the principal – the issue was not addressed the “swept under the carpet” and the “blathering”
“children misunderstand – great teacher yada- yada- yada”.

We, the mothers, handled our children’s fear in alternative ways but the damage was done. I used wonder what happened to those children who didn’t have mothers who stood guard. Eventually two of the little girls left the LCS system.

2. My son also crossed the street and went to Irving- 2nd grade he was found to have a reading problem but there was a solution- they had a lovely grant for a special “reading” program. I watched, attended conferences and his reports were showing improvement by being in the program- leaps and bounds.

This program continued when LCS moved the neighborhood kids to other schools. My son went to Lakeview – where the infamous 2nd grade teacher had transferred- to the 3rd grade ( of course even though I met with the principal and said – I don’t wish the teacher to be involved with my son– well you guessed it he came home and I said who is your teacher???????- ignored again and more meetings with the school!

3. HYPE The dismantling of the neighborhood school for magnet programs – In my other life I was extremely involved with theatre and dance – I went to the open house for the “arts program”. I was dismayed at what was being “touted” – I knew too much

One person recently, whose children had gone through that program, said to me _ Oh it was wonderful my child gained so much– but as I said :

“And just what did you or they have to compare it with?

“Bubble Gum ballet” and “community theatre” hardly equate to “training in the arts”.

I am not being an art’s snob here -just stating a fact – there is and was a difference- the arts program that I saw that first couple of years before I “left” Lorain City Schools was amateurish at best.So I decided NOT to camp out in a parking lot and leave my daughter where she was across the street.

ED NOTE: Things may have changed later on in the program – I know one or two people who went on having discovered the love of theatre in those “pods” but what happened eventually to the programs???

4. SAFETY CONCERNS 3rd Grade Lakeview- the fact for a week the Lorain City Schools system bussed the children of this street and lost them, didn’t pick them up at the corner they stated they should be or the time – it was a mess- put them on wrong busses drove them all over town. Mothers were frantically calling for that one week trying to sort things out and the buck kept getting passed- kids were blamed – parents blamed – the problem was not addressed. The children suffered that week, nothing was done to alleviate their fears. It was once again the child that paid the price whilst the “professionals tried to get it right”

In fact, after trying to drop my son off by Lorain Community Hospital a small riot broke out on the bus- my 3rd grader Chris – refused to get off the bus until they took him and his friend Michael to his house . As I was on the phone to the Superintendent at nearly 5 o’clock demanding to know where my child was, when a bus load of screaming, crying neighborhood children drew up outside my house- I held the phone out the window so they could “listen” to those children and what they had done- finally something was done but . Michael never rode a bus again, transferred out to a system where his daddy worked – and I drove my son to Lakeview.
The case of the live ammunition 3rd grade Lakeview once again – a husband banging the hell out of the washing machine which was “stuck” because of something that was caught- it was a bullet in fact more than one that had fallen out of my son’s pockets apparently -( who thinks to check for live ammunition in the pockets of a third grader?)

” my friend gave it to me at recess “

Obviously we went to the school,because the concern was – if a 3rd grader had access to live ammunition what about the gun that went with it.
I was fobbed off with a speech about

home conditions etc etc. parents not there, complaint could be seen as discriminatory due ethnic background, we are at the beginning of court ordered desegregation, this could be seen as detrimental to the process-yada yada yada….

Actually looking back I don’t know WHY I didn’t make more of an issue but my husband was all for letting the school handle it.

Of course this was also the time that “gangs” were coming into the schools in a big way and that too was being ignored. Living in this neighborhood you tend to know what is happening. The community was placated with

“oh! just harmless wanna be’s”

…we knew better we watched the “after school fights” on 6th 5th and 7th! Painted over the gang graffiti – I actually spent one afterschool protecting some kids in the middle of 4th street whilst waiting for the police – standing up to these “wanna be’s”

We jump ahead -LCS moved the kids back again from Lakeview to Irving. My daughter had by this time left Lorain City Schools- the children of her neighborhood went to other schools, some within the system and others outside the system.

Unfortunately, the children she had been left to attend class with were unruly, disruptive and many had problems. It took a lot to get my husband to agree to send her to the new junior high class opening up at Lorain Catholic High School. We weren’t Catholic- we weren’t wealthy but after a few disturbing incidents he agreed.
My daughter had been an A student but tested in and was C at LCHS and had to do extra work to “catch up”.

In the meantime Chris ( now in 5th grade at Irving) was being “attacked” at school – Chris had a temper and a strength belied by his appearance at the time . I was frightened HE would be the one doing the damage. But after I literally stood and watched two eighth grade “yobos” attack my son in front of me . I told him do what you have to do- he did and HE got detention but they didn’t touch him again.

Ignoring the situation until it escalated to a point where a child paid the price again

In the 5th grade, 5.5 to be exact, I was very concerned about Chris’ reading ( knowing he too would be going to LCHS) although his reports gave him solid C’s and B’s I was worried- Nikki an A student going to a C at LCHS -what would happen to my C student? I didn’t realize that grant driven programs had to show positive results to receive further funding – my son was being passed through– I took Chris to be tested privately :

In Grade 5.5 Chris tested as having a reading level he was reading at a grade 1.2 level… comprehension 2.5. vocabulary 4.9

We also found out that his temper was also part of the problem he felt “stupid”- why? because a grant driven program had to “show results” (that is my opinion anyway) and a child was the price- For three years Chris went to a tutor to “catch up” at our expense .

Now you know why I am a surface dwellerI left Lorain City Schools- You could say this is ancient history of past administrations etc. etc. BUT as I see it – we are still dealing with the same problems I dealt with when I was “involved”

“hype – disconnect- ignoring problems – dependent on grants – lack of thinking out the repercussions of one’s actions , and parents who care leaving the system “


Worrying to me is how many children slipped through the cracks in the years of “low scores”. How many children were the victim of stats ………..and those stats work both ways – because the mothers that “walked ” took with them not only their children but LCS has also lost the grandchildren.

Well that is MY UGLY What is YOURS? How can we fix this ?


December 5, 2011 at 12:40 pm 22 comments



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December 2011