My daughter graduated from Lebanon Valley College here in Pennsylvania last Saturday. To say we are proud in an understatement.
The commencement address was based on the subjects of truth and knowledge. I sat in the audience hanging on every word. It was as if we were the only two in the room. I was meant to hear this speech.
You see, my daughter didn’t take the typical academic path to becoming a college graduate, her path reads like the plot of a LifeTime movie. It’s best to watch these movies from your couch, not play them out in your lives.
Eight years ago I set out to have some questions answered about what was going on behind closed doors at the grade school my children had attended. There were some red flags on the ground right from its inception, but it was much easier to turn a blind eye than to admit that something might be wrong with this miraculous academic facility that landed in our neighborhood wearing all sorts of bells and whistles with $0 tuition. Why would we ever rock that boat?
We were in the midst of requesting that our daughter be transitioned from a Special Education classroom into a full-time mainstream classroom. Sounds easy enough right?
She was diagnosed with learning differences in 3rd grade and had been in the Special Education system, but while she was in Middle School we felt it was time to move forward since she was doing so well. We were looking at her academic future and our belief that she would be attending college in just 3 more years. Perfect attendance. Straight A’s. Honor Roll. What else would we be thinking?
This is when we, including my daughter, were informed by what I like to consider the Sarah Palin of School Psychologists “your daughter will never go to college, not even a community college.” What?!
Have you ever been floored? I mean stunned to the point that you were paralyzed? That is how I felt in this moment. To this day I’m not sure what happened, but as I sat stunned my husband was reenacting a scene from Pulp Fiction, pushing the table across the room and demanding answers from pseudo Sarah on how a child receiving straight A’s throughout her entire academic career could not have the opportunity to attend college? Yikes!
The answer: She was being tested on what she knew and was not being challenged beyond her own knowledge. As if that weren’t enough to absorb, learning that the person making these educational decisions on behalf of my child was an ex police officer with a high school diploma. Let that sink in for a minute.
Immediately following this meeting I put my Nancy Drew cap on and began digging, but little did I know I was about to open a can of worms that escalated to the size of a vat overnight. Fast & Furious.
Fast forward after months of giving Nancy Drew a serious run for her money. Speaking before the School Reform Commission. Endless emails, letters and visits to the School District of Philadelphia. Visits to our State Representatives and Congressman. Meetings with the Inspector Generals Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. But most of all the relentless efforts of Martha Woodall, an educational reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Surprise! Life With The Top Down is a living breathing whistleblower. Yes, its true and I’m still getting shunned today as a result. Learn something new every day now don’t we.
Silly me, I thought people would be happy to know that the reason their kids weren’t receiving services was because millions of their tax dollars were being squandered by the administration, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Learning that everything you believed to be true is a fucking lie doesn’t go over very well among the masses.
The story is a long one that reads so much like a fiction novel it would leave you questioning its authenticity. Trust me, I lived it and still question it.
The bottom line is this … blah, blah, blah:
- Most popular Charter school in Philadelphia is in the middle of a scandal.
- Open the door to more scandals at 18 other schools.
- Millions stolen
- Federal Hearings
- Law Changes
- Justice Served
Here are a few of the many articles written about the insanity. Our First Amendment ROCKS!
Although justice had been served in a Federal Courtroom years ago, it was not served until May 9, 2015 for my daughter. We had put this part of our lives behind us, or so I thought. Two days before graduation my daughter sent me a photo of her transcript that read “Completed” with the words: JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED. Indeed it has ….
All of her hard work, determination and perseverance has paid off. I present to you one of the hardest working students from the Class of 2015.