Okay, I know that is the squirreliest title possible, but it has been the squirreliest situation you can imagine. At the beginning of the year, the Texas school-rule system of shoot-from-the-hip-and-let-somebody-else-take-the-blame educational decisions pinched us into a small ball and tossed us into a basket where we didn’t deserve to be. My middle child was forced to repeat his eighth grade year of schooling because of last Spring’s hospital stay and missing the sacred State test that you must pass or forever after be shamed and classed as an ugly duckling in a world full of swans. He was dying of sheer boredom at having to re-take those classes. He is a gifted student with above-average intelligence and a super-power of asking his father questions so difficult and numerous that it makes his father’s head explode. (The exploded head is mine if my third-person-ness is confusing you). So, at the half year, we tried to get him into Creekview High School. We had a counselor on our side who had told my wife that Henry belonged in high school. Except, at enrollment time, we never got to talk to her. An assistant principal looked at the fact that he had not taken the sacred State test (tests, actually… you have to pass Reading, Math, Writing, Science, and History… all made harder by the State with every passing year) and told us to go back to middle school, do not pass Go, and do not collect 200 dollars. That cruelty was not unexpected. It is the way education works in Texas.
So, today we went to re-enroll him in the middle school. But the counselor from there, the very excellent counselor who was responsible for Henry last year, knew all the reasons that school was a bust for Henry last spring and also knew how wonderfully, intensely smart he really is. She insisted that the high school was the only right place for him. She contacted the higher administration on our behalf, and Henry’s former 6th grade principal, now assistant superintendent for the district, agreed. The decree was given and several good people who were in our corner were vindicated. And here’s the part that made me tear up. Henry got his wish to be in high school with the kids that were his friends in middle school last year. Miraculously… unexpectedly… the gods of Texas education decided to smile on my family for a change.