This revelation of our anti-education public school system is found at the Washington Post. It involves a straight-A child-prodigy that the DC school district is regarding as a truant. Avery Gagliano is a piano and violin player with an international reputation and who could have been given a criminal record in DC.
Columnist Petulia Dvorak writes:
“As I shared during our phone conversation this morning, DCPS is unable to excuse Avery’s absences due to her piano travels, performances, rehearsals, etc.,” Jemea Goso, attendance specialist with the school system’s Office of Youth Engagement, wrote in an e-mail to Avery’s parents, Drew Gagliano and Ying Lam, last year before she left to perform in Munich.
Although administrators at Deal were supportive of Avery’s budding career and her new role as an ambassador for an international music foundation, the question of whether her absences violated the District’s truancy rules and law had to be kicked up to the main office. And despite requests, no one from the school system wanted to go on the record explaining its refusal to consider her performance-related absences as excused instead of unexcused.
Avery’s parents say they did everything they could to persuade the school system. They created a portfolio of her musical achievements and academic record and drafted an independent study plan for the days she’d miss while touring the world as one of the star pianists selected by a prestigious Lang Lang Music Foundation, run by Chinese pianist Lang Lang, who handpicked Avery to be an international music ambassador.
But the school officials wouldn’t budge, even though the truancy law gives them the option to decide what an unexcused absence is. The law states that an excused absence can be “an emergency or other circumstances approved by an educational institution.”
So after ten absences—the last being due to a piano competition in Hartford, Connecticut, which she won—she got a call from her newly assigned truant officer.
The good news is that Avery’s parents pulled her from the school and homeschooled her. They couldn’t afford a private school. The bad news is that they think this option is second-best to public school. I don’t blame Avery for missing her friends. I hope her parents branch out into the homeschool community and find a community that can give her some consolation.
But what can we say about the school officials who drove her away?
Can anyone possibly believe that any of these people cared about Avery’s education? No. It is not possible. They wanted to stifle and stunt her, not help her. Dvorak shows evidence that the school system has been quite lax at enforcing truancy laws in many cases. It actually looks like they targeted Avery for being an intelligent and talented student.
The good news is that the school has lost Avery’s straight-A record and her giftedness. They won’t be able to use her stellar GPA and pretend it was something that they accomplished.
Truly they are unworthy of her. In fact, they are unworthy of having any child under their authority.