Sunday, November 17, 2013

Excellent School, but Not Special?

I have nothing bad to stay about this secondary school in Narangba. And it wouldn't matter if I did. It is reputed to be one of the best in the state. (Note: the state we are talking about is Queensland, Australia, which might make one question the level of competition perhaps?!) Suburban soccer moms and yoga moms are raving about it. Families talk about moving just to get into the catchment area. (Then again: we've seen the alternatives!) The Australian government has given it hundreds of thousand of dollars for its Australian Rules Football Academy of Excellence and its state of the art drama, dance and music programs, including television and film capabilities with ties to the Brisbane Academy of Dance and the Australian Youth Orchestra. (Don't quote me on these: some artsy fartsy elite programs somewhere that are supposed to be a really big deal anyway.)

Kurwongbah State School:  F1 AND Choir Champions!
(We LOVE Kurwongbah:  Tough Consumer Satisfied!)

Today Ryan went for Transition Day - just to gather information and keep our options open for later - and another Mom told me it was Top 20 in National Scores - state wide or nationwide she wasn't sure but still, this school is supposed to be phenomenal, the kids look well-dressed and respectful, the programs on offer are varied and it fits the ideal a parent is looking for in a school for their child.

One brave farrier, with a shy daughter Ryan's age, was brave enough to break a gold brick in the wall of excellence. „If you ain't a guy doing AFL or a girl doing dance, you might as well be invisible there.“

It's the same comment I've heard about North Lakes. Both schools have over 2000 kids. They have schools of excellence. Kids shine.

Looking Good in Choir Uniforms

But this one – Narangba – is also supposed to have a special needs program catering to the visual and hearing and speech impaired, the physically and intellectually challenged and those on the Autistic Spectrum. Awesome. It has a place for Ryan.

I felt a little bad – after calling up one day last term, right after dropping her off barefoot and in her pyjamas at the neigbour's house to walk home alone – not taking advantage of the opportunities apparently being laid right at our doorstep. God – or the universe or Shiva or The Force – must have dropped us in Naranbga for a reason, right?

Ah, the universe has such a wicked sense of humour.

After not hearing from the school for a full five weeks of enrolment (already knowing by now, after being ignored by two secondary schools previously, Pine Rivers and Bray Park, that if you aren't enroled they won't bother to work with you), and after receiving the bill for materials for 2014, I finally called for an appointment with the special needs department.

The Ugly Truth Revealed!

If the goal was to meet with parents in order to set expectations so low that absolutely nothing is requested of the school for the following five years, then he did his job well.

Really, I would like to write a recommendation for this man, because, as a school politician, he was tops. He made it absolutely clear, from the start, what would be expected of Ryan for the next five years, how little we could expect from the school in terms of support, and how well we would all continue to get along if we just didn't bother with pointless individuals meetings like this anymore.

This, mates, is what happens, when we make schools a competitive business (rather than a cooperative institution); nationalise, standardise and computerise the whole curriculum; and leave it in the hands of bureaucrats.

Our license plates say Qld: The Smart State.
But if you have to constantly remind everyone, right?!
Not funny enough for you?

Wait until you hear about our interview!

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