Does our school district offer “Informed Consent?”
Recently there has been some passionate discussion about “Academic Acceleration” at Federal Way School Board meetings. All of this “Passion” seems to be coming from Jefferson parents which might suggest that parents of the other three high schools are not that involved in their children’s education or this process isn’t happening at these schools.
There are certainly good intentions in what the District is trying to do, but I think they have missed an important step. I would like to use a medical analogy to explain my point.
Suppose your child was not feeling well, so you decided to take him/her to the doctor. The doctor would perform tests which he felt might pin point the problem. Schools do this also.
Suppose that some of the tests the doctor performed suggested that surgery was the best solution. In this case the doctor would likely provide you, the parent, with a list of the options, risks and probable results; then ask you to sign a release form if you elected to have surgery performed.
This in the medical field is called, “Informed Consent.” Unfortunately this isn’t what the school district has done. They have given the tests and then started surgery without the parents’ consent! If a doctor were to do this he would probably face loss of license to practice medicine and a lawsuit!
Now, let’s take this one step further. Suppose you agreed with the doctor and signed the Informed Consent form and the surgery was performed. When you then visited your child in the recovery room you found that not only the surgery had been performed, but the child now has a tattoo of “Sponge Bob” on his forehead!
You ask, “Why?” The surgeon explains that when your child was recovering he/she asked them if they would like this and they said “Kool!” and so they complied. You might get just a little upset and seek a lawyer as you would feel that there was no “Informed Consent.”
Your child now has a ‘Chronic” disfigurement that is likely to have lifelong implications. The lawsuit shouldn’t take long.
Something similar to this is taking place in schools, not just in Federal Way, but in most schools.
1. Your child is tested and then a “Plan” (like a surgery) is undertaken. Informed Consent? Probably not! Possible long term (chronic) implications? Certainly!
2. If your child believes that this “Plan” isn’t right for them can they change it to make it more “fun,” or make it “easier,” or to get in the right lunch period, or avoid a “hard teacher. The school will probably be willing to do this. Implications that may be “chronic” could result but this isn’t a consideration. “Informed Consent?” I don’t think so.
Lawsuit in the making? Probably, but you wouldn’t want to try! Herein lies one of the greatest weaknesses of our education system. We aren’t looking at what goes on in schools with the same level of seriousness that we look for in a doctor’s office, yet the implications can be as serious to our children as medical neglect.
“Chronic bad educational outcomes” (CBEO) is a “disease that is in epidemic proportions in America!
The solution here in Federal Way is to INSIST ON INFORMED CONSENT! There are school districts in America that have done this and the results are spectacular.
Let us remember that our children entering high school are minors and therefore are not legally allowed to make major decisions. Decisions made by them, without vested adult consultation, can lead to “chronically” bad outcomes. (CBEO)
Let’s stamp out CBEO in Federal Way by insisting that all parents have full “Informed Consent!”