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Topic: Mom going to Court because of MY Magic -Please Help
Message: Posted by: Dakota Rose (Jan 23, 2005 07:56AM)
I'm not sure where to post this. I feel stupid posting it here because my family and I are very healthy. But I really do need some advice.

I'm 13-years-old and in 7th grade. This is the second school I've attended. One reason Mom took me out of the Catholic school was because they really got upset whenever I took time off school to compete in a magic convention. Now, I'm in a public shcool and it's not any better. If I miss any school because I'm competing or performing at a convention, I get F's and 0's on papers and tests. (Although, some of the teachers work with me on making up work.) Now, my school may take my Mom to court for being an "unruly" parent. If any of you know my Mom, she is far from unruly. She's the best.

Mom says that as far as she is concerned, "magic" is part of my education. Going different places and meeting people that can influence my magic and my carreer is one of the best educational experiences that I can have. (Mom was working on her PHD when I started magic. She stopped to dovote time to me and my magic. So Mom believes very strongly in school education.) Mom and I have both learned so much at every convention we go to. Not just about magic, but also about different cities and countries and the people who live there.

Mom says she will handle court. She said she will probably just have to do community service. She doesn't seem that upset about it, but I hate that she might have to go to court because of my magic.

I guess what I'm asking, does anyone have any advice on what Mom can say to my school or to the judge, to help them understand that traveling to the conventions, performing and competing is a good educational experience for me? I plan to make magic and/or entertainment as my profession.

P.S. I usually only go to 2-3 conventions a year, but we want to go to more in the near future.

Thanks for your help,

Dakota Rose
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Jan 23, 2005 04:08PM)
Maybe you and Mom should look into "Home Schooling".Do you get make up work from when you are out of school?If you don't you really should. As for the Judge that's a hard call.Lets hope he's in a good mood that day.
I think your Mon is doing the right thing taking you to magic conventions.Its an great education and I'm not just talking about the magic you learn.Its meeting people and everything else you learn from traveling.Much more than any school could teach you.
Please keep us informed as to how this all comes out.
The BEST to you and your Mom,
Message: Posted by: Dakota Rose (Jan 23, 2005 04:26PM)
Hi Don, thanks for responding. Yeah, I hope the judge is in a good mood, too.

My Mom is a single mother, so she works full time. So we couldn't do Home Schooling. Besides, I really like school. That may sound strange, but I do. I really want to stay in school. I have a lot of friends.

Does anyone have any ideas about what to say to the judge or superintendent so that we don't have to go through this for the next 5 1/2 years, till I graduate high school?


Dakota Rose
Message: Posted by: Mark Rough (Jan 23, 2005 04:43PM)
Hey Dakota,

I was at a one of Jeff's master classes with you a few years back. So, I do know you're mom, she's a great lady.

In all likelihood, the judge has seen REAL "unruly" parents and is going to laugh this off. She's not abusing you and she's sure not neglecting you, anybody who has seen how much she cares about you would know that.

I don't know about your state laws but in Virginia a student is allowed to miss a certain number of days and it won't effect grades or class standing. The thing is NO ONE enforces this if the student is demonstrating that they are able to do the work they missed.

I didn't spend a lot of time with you but you struck me as more than capable of dealing with any school work you might miss. If I were your teacher (and I am a teacher) I would be encouraging you to go out and see the world. Don't let these people get you down.

Let me know how it turns out.

Mark Rough
Message: Posted by: ventman (Jan 23, 2005 04:52PM)
Hi Dakota,
Not only am I a magician, but also a public school teacher and I have a son your age. Most school districts have policies of up to a certain amount of days that you can be absent before you have to repeat grades or before government agencies are called. But anyway, here are some suggestions:

-perhaps you could do a benefit magic show for the school...superintendents like money raising kinds of things.....
-start a magic club at your school....extra curricular activities and clubs are also smiled upon.
-seek to serve with your magic in some way (nursing homes, churches, etc...) and judges and other authorities may understand that your magic is a positive force...(in my state kids regularly take off for Future Farmers of America types of programs which equate to our magic conventions in my mind!)

Usually if you don't miss much school the rest of the time and you keep your grades up, schools (at least around here) understand the occasional absence.
Message: Posted by: Dakota Rose (Jan 23, 2005 05:25PM)
Wow, I can't believe this. Mom and I have been trying to deal with this for the past 4 years. We just didn't know what to do. One post this morning and I get so many great ideas.

Thank you everyone. Mom says thanks, too.

Your friend,

Dakota Rose
Message: Posted by: ventman (Jan 23, 2005 05:39PM)
You're welcome, Dakota. I hope some of this helps you and your mother. Have you thought of transfer to another district if those in power are not going to be understanding of your magic?

One thing your mother might say to the judge is that in today's society, drugs, alcohol, tobacco and gangs are ravaging our children...the hobby of magic is a safe, healthy hobby for my son which fosters problem solving, reading, math, social and creative synthesis skills.
Of course, she would want to put that into her own words ...but that's the spirit of it...she wants to be involved and to support you in this wonderful healthy world of magic (and undoubtedly she would do the same if it were another area like sports...etc...)
Best to you,
Message: Posted by: GeorgeSantos (Jan 23, 2005 06:11PM)
I admire your Mom for supporting you that much.

I really don't know what advice I'll give you because I am also a student like you. From my social standing, I don't get to travel to conventions a lot so I really don't know what to say.

So I'll just pray that everything goes well with you and your Mom. Take care of her, not all parents are like her.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Jan 27, 2005 09:42PM)
Dakota,, Ventman had some great suggestions. I was very active in 4-H so I understand the parallel with FFA.

Now, since I am in Ohio (like you) was also a single dad, and dealt with much of what your mother is dealing with let me offer some thoughts.

My son was not a good student but the magic education was very important to his education. He subsquently (at 16) ended up living with his mother in Indiana and supposedly being home schooled (I have my doubts). I was told that you can drop out of school at 16. But the stagecraft he learned from me and some at his high school, could support him the rest of his life if needed.l

I applaud you for wanting to stay in school. People and learning how to work with them is what will get you through life; not books. You need the books but the experience is much better. Magic is a great confidence builder. Think of the people you know in magic and how positive most of them are. They are self motivated and feel there is nothing they cannot achieve.

In our school system, you are sent a warning when you reach certain number of days. I know of parents that take children out of school for vacations for two weeks or so. I would not think that your convention activities would take that much time as most are on weekends. I would find out exactly what the school system and the State of Ohio requirements of attendance are.

Keep your grades up and stay the course. Don't neglect the real education as it is very difficult to make a living in magic. Don't get discouraged.

I have met you though you probably do not remember me. I work backstage and at Abbott's and a couple of other conventions. With all the trouble in the world today, it is nice to find someone that is doing something that in some small way helps to make the world a little brighter place through his performances. That is real magic.

Trust your mom. I know you worry about her but I am sure that she knows what she is doing. Let her fight those battles. Maybe an "expose" news story would help your cause.

Feel free to contact me if you feel the need or just need to talk.
Message: Posted by: R2 (Jan 27, 2005 10:37PM)
This case has several mitigating factors that I am sure any Judge with a miniscule amount of common sense will see through.
Please be sure to bring all of your trophies, literature,awards, website information, letters of reference from past clients and magic fraternity certificates,etc... as proof of your unwavering devotion to your art and educational experiences as a magician.

In all likelihood the legal disposition will be for your mother to only schedule your trips around holidays and weekends. If you really think about it, it isn't necessary for you to spend the entire week at a convention etc...you only need be present for competition days, etc.....

If you only limit your visits to the days that you actually need to be in attendance, I am sure that there will be no problem making up those days where you aren't present.

My son and daughter were home schooled when I was on the road and the district even supplied me with the course materials...Your mother can do the same for you even as a full time employee pursuing a PhD.

Please be sure to let us know the disposition of your case?
Message: Posted by: Avrakdavra (Jan 28, 2005 07:34AM)
Just have your mom tell the judge that she would rather see you grow up to be David Copperfield than see you grow up to be your school principal.

Seriously though, this is just the sort of situation that makes our family happy to be homeschooling rather than participating in the conformity machines (masquerading as educational settings) that are public schools.

Best of luck-- young people as impassioned as yourself usually find their way despite these sorts of obstacles.
Message: Posted by: Dakota Rose (Jan 28, 2005 05:39PM)
Hi Everyone,

I am so overwhelmed. Not just the great ideas that you have all so kindly posted, but the compassion and sincerity behind the words. I don't know what to say.

I'll be going to the World Magic Seminar this month. That will put me over the top of the amount of days I can miss. We've already got a warning letter, but Mom says "Not to worry. She'll take care of it." And now, with all your help, I think she can.

I've already been told my grades will drop a letter grade, which makes me mad. And Mom will go to court, which makes me madder. Mom just says, "This too, shall pass."

So, I guess I just won't worry anymore. Thank you everyone so, so much.

Your friend,

Dakota Rose
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 29, 2005 05:39PM)

I just had a look at your website. All I can say is, "WOW!!!" Make sure the judge sees it, too. It is absolutely amazing the progress you are making in magic!

Here in Birmingham, we have the Alabama School of Fine Arts, which would actually encourage what you do, and probably look upon your "field trips" as research toward your education.

Instead of being persecuted, you should be given a grant.

A tip of my hat to you! Stay the course, sir!

Message: Posted by: Carrie Sue (Jan 29, 2005 10:10PM)

It's great that your mom is able to take (or send) you all these places and that she sticks up for you. I think one of the previous posters is correct. Let her worry about the system because she has your best interests at heart. I think the people in charge will see that. They have to send out some of these warning letters just because they have compulsory attendance laws to enforce. But there are workarounds to every situation, and I'm sure your mom is smart enough to come up with some.

I saw you perform in Ann Arbor a few years ago. You were spectacular! Didn't you take first prize in the competition that day? I think so.
Message: Posted by: David Eichler (Jan 29, 2005 11:10PM)

If there is any chance that you could qualify for the 'gifted' program in your school district, then you would be able to have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) written, in which your mom could have stipulated that the experiences you receive with the work you do in your magical endeavors are essential to your broader academic achievements. If written into an IEP, it is a legal document which the school has to honor. Period.

If this does not work, perhaps you and your mom could propose what is commonly referred to as 'thematic curriculum', in which you could try to use the magical arts and your experiences in your travels, as the basis for conducting 'independent studies'. For social studies, you could focus on historical perspectives of the different places you are visiting (or the history of our craft), for Math you could apply whatever concepts you are currently learning in class to certain aspects of your travels, for English you could research (and present to your class) a written paper on a topic you and your teacher agree is relevant to the class curricula and ties in with your magical studies/experiences, etc.

I work (as a behavioral consultant) in about a dozen and a half school districts in N.E. Kansas and can honestly say that if any of the schools I work in tried to treat one of their students like you indicate you are being treated, I would take them to task for working against the broader educational mandate with which our public education system is charged. Do not give up. I've worked for a number of years with the public education system...if you or your mom would like to talk about potential ways to make your case to the legal system, please feel free to PM me.

All the best,

Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 29, 2005 11:30PM)
The attendance thing is tough.

It's an administrative/Board of Education and FUNDING problem.

The standard line is that you are in school only for a few more years and will have the rest of your life for career and hobbies.

Effective arguments may include offers to make up the work, or repeat a year, and this stuff is very important to you as you are only young once.

Good luck and try to imagine this from the judge's eyes.

Message: Posted by: magicjody (Jan 30, 2005 07:32PM)
I would say try to attend the conventions that are going on during your summer vacation or other vacations you have off during the school year. Josy Robbins
Message: Posted by: Ron Reid (Jan 31, 2005 02:47PM)

Yes, I agree. Your education is much more important than your magic act. Go to the SAM and IBM during the summer when school is out. Heck, you could even go to one major convention during the year, if you just have to go. To be honest, it sounds like what you and your mom are doing is a bit excessive (I'm sure your mom is a nice person, though).

Going to conventions is a lot more fun than school I'm sure, but you'll never regret putting your education first.

Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Feb 3, 2005 02:55AM)

Public school systems and education are rarely related anymore. That is truly sad.

Your problem is not unique. My dad stuck his neck out for me when I was trying to go to school. I've always admired him for it. It wasn't easy. It wasn't popular. It encouraged others. And that was in the 1950s, when students had no rights.

I liked the consequences. I started paying income tax at age twelve. One of my classmates waited until he was a little older but also choose a road less traveled. He even changed his name. He is gone, due to an accident, but his work is a real contribution. His stage name was John Denver. He went to junior high school in Montgomery, Alabama.

I don't think it hurt society or us. We got educations, produced goods and services, employed others, and provided well for our families. I finished college at age 21 and did my Navy time. My education was so hindered that I became a university professor published by the Academy of Science and the Academy of Advertising. For years I did marketing and management consulting for Fortune 500 companies, served on corporate boards of directors of corporations in the USA and abroad, ran for statewide public office, started and sold several businesses, and raised two children by myself. They now live on very generous trust funds, if they wish. The oldest (23) graduated from the state university in marketing and computer science last semester. The youngest is nineteen and ranked among the top ten horse trainers in the world. I think they will make it. They have been taxpayers for many years. They are well invested in America. My source of funding was what I could accomplish in the entertainment industry. It did not come from a school classroom.

Don't give up. Less than 1/3 of America supports it all. One of the saddening things is that the parasites don't even recognize a host animal when they see it. Rats will gnaw a hole in a sinking ship because that is Standard Operating Procedure for a rat. He’s a parasite.

Your mom is going to have to fight until she can find an educator in charge. She may not find one in Ohio. I hope she does. But if she keeps at it, she will find one somewhere. Don't let administrators manage your future. Administrators are not managers. To shoot ducks you have to go where there are ducks. Find the ducks!

I posted a reference for your use on your site long ago. You have continued to grow and accomplish even more. Go to school but get an education too. One will satisfy the government. The other will fund it. Government is not in the success business. It sounds like your mom is.

Good luck to you both. Governor Taft may be the place to start. He’s no dummy. Send him this and other letters of support to help him persuade those that he must. If your mom thinks I can help, you know how to reach me.

Take care,

Message: Posted by: Review King (Feb 3, 2005 04:27AM)
Education is for the birds. I have a G.E.D. ( good enough diploma ) and have never had a problem getting menial labor jobs. From fry cook to bottle washer, I could always make at least $10,000 a year.

Message: Posted by: Comedy and then the magic (Feb 5, 2005 01:13AM)
Dakota, first of all, good luck with the convention, my best friend will be competing against you, hehe. Look out for him =) Well, I will have to tell you that I was in homeschooled programs my entire life where I did not need the tutelage of my mother. and I also had to go to class every once in a while but it was not entirely necessary and I could make it up anytime so there I still ahd the social part of it. we still had the proms, the dances, the events, ya know, all that jazz. I suggest you PM me and I could maybe try to hook you up in one of these programs. Believe me, magic is very very important to me and to you too. Your education, is a little more important unfortunately. I had to turn down a two week run in vegas because it woudld have not worked with my college schedule. I was bummed, but I was thinking, hey I still got time to work on my magic and make it better. If I am where I am right now, and people want to already book me, they hey, how bad will people want me when I get out of school? =)
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Mar 10, 2005 03:17PM)
All great advice...

Just my prayers that you do greater things with your Magic!

Stay Strong...
Message: Posted by: Doc Pepper (Mar 11, 2005 12:47PM)
From the above posts, there's not much else to say. I'm sure I speak for many when I say `Good Luck' and hope this goes well for you ... and your Mom. I think you are a very lucky young man to have her .. and she is very lucky you have you.
But then, I doubt if y'alls relationship is just luck. Bet cha there's a lot of work making that kind of closeness... Doc
Message: Posted by: massimo (Mar 25, 2005 12:02PM)
Depending on what state you are in, parents have a very large obligation to see that their kids are eductaed up to a certain age. I do not agree that just because you can demonstrate your magical that the judge will be easy on your mom. He will see it as his legal duty to uphold the law (if that law applies in your state) that you receive your education. You may wish for a judge that likes and/or knows magic, but I doubt it will happen. If your mom can afford it she should seek legal advise. If she can not afford it, look into legal aid or try asking firms if they can do this "Pro Bono".
It is better to protect your mom's and your rights now, than to have them taken away.
Message: Posted by: annie williams (Apr 16, 2005 04:21PM)
It's a shame you don't have a performing arts school in the district. They would be much more supportive of the training and competitions. However, ask around your school district and find out how many days the basketball/football players miss for events. While these are school-sponsored events, this number may help you in front of a judge. (I am an attorney who works for a judge) Your mother also should give the court an idea of the hours and types of training involved in magic. It is a serious business that requires not only physical, but mental training. Also, economics in how to run a business. Much involves math, physics, etc. Play that up! Especially how you do your homework first! This is no different than a person training for ice skating competitions, gymnastics, hockey, etc. However, there is a realistic chance that this will help fund future educational possibilities (read college). My sons are 10 and 13, and we are taking them out of school for the Battle of Magicians. No one in their private school will complain because the owner of the Steelers takes his kids out for the pro-bowl, the superbowl, etc. The kids must make up their work, and they maintain high grade point averages.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Apr 21, 2005 04:38AM)

It has been a while since I heard from your mom about this. Are things working out?

Good Luck!

Bob and Lucy
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: Dakota Rose (Apr 22, 2005 06:50PM)
Hi everyone,

Well, Mom got a couple of letters and a couple of phone calls warning her if I missed 1 more day of an unexcused absense, that they would have to take further actions. So, I'm definetly not going to miss any more school this year.

Unfortunately, the school did lower my grades one grade letter. I had all A's and B's this quarter and they lowered them to B's and C's. I was pretty upset but Mom said not to worry about it. She said she knew how hard I worked to keep them up.

So anyway, it looks like another year has gone by without too many problems. We were really worried for awhile.

I just wanted to thank everyone for their support and encouragement. Mom really had herself prepared for the judge from everyone's advice. We both thank you so, so much. It's pretty incredible how much support and caring we got from all of you. Magicians really are a brotherhood.

Your friend,

Dakota Rose
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Apr 22, 2005 10:43PM)

Thanks for the update. It sounds like you and your mom are doing a better job of coping than is the school system. Good for you!

This school year will soon be over. It may be wise to use the time off to negotiate a more acceptable agreement for next school year. Your mom knows how to contact me personally to help with that. Don't let her be too shy to call, if I can help. I think Governor Taff is too smart not to help you. He just may need the opportunity to see how. Providing that step is something I would enjoy doing for both of you.

Take care.

Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: ventman (May 24, 2005 11:07PM)
Great to hear! Keep the faith!
Message: Posted by: drkptrs1975 (Jun 3, 2005 09:28PM)
Best thing to do is have your mom homeschool you. I will praying that all comes to best for you. The school system has no clue what is best for you.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Jun 4, 2005 05:36PM)
I am going to hope that you stay in school. The social interaction is very important.

When my son left to live with his mother, she decided to home school him. He really needed the social skills that school helps to develop.

I am sure that you have learned how to work the system and make school work better you.

Any ideas on the new act yet?

Message: Posted by: SteeleFusion (Jun 4, 2005 05:57PM)
As a child actor I've been in similar situationg.

However in Scotland (indeed the UK) there is a "Child Performance" contract that I took out. This allowed me to act in TV/Film/Stage for up to something like 40 days per year including school days. I think thou after 20 days a "tutor" had to be provided.

I'm not sure whether the contract would take into account Magic events. As I said my only experiences of this situation was with acting.

Also, Scotland can, and has, sent parents to jail as there children did not attend school. But this children in entertainment contract helps allow young people to perform and no have to deal with the repercussions of absenteeism.

Does anything like this exist elsewhere?

Message: Posted by: denzildon (Jun 12, 2005 07:28PM)
I admire you and your achievements!!! As well as the loving support of your mom!!! Only a few people can achieve these things at such an early age. I don't have any else to give you but the support and prayers of my family.

Wishing well,
Message: Posted by: David Eichler (Jul 18, 2005 10:34PM)

What's the word? How are things?


Message: Posted by: JesterMan (Jul 19, 2005 03:25AM)
Hmmm, Craig might have an idea.

Perhaps your mom can check about the possibility of having a tutor handle your education while you are at conventions? Child actors here in the US also have tutors when they are on location, and even when they live in the area where they film, but need to stay near the set.

Depending upon the regulations in your state and school district, maybe some of the folks also attending, who are teachers, could help.

I agree with those above who encourage you to stay in a formal school, though not necessarily the current one. The interpersonal skills that are gained are at least as important than the content of the classes. (These skills are different from the ones you gain at conventions, which are also good.) This helps you become the person that you are (and will become), as opposed to the information that you know. Given what you have said, there is no doubt that you will handle the academics in any non-negative environment.

All, of course, IMHO. (Trained as a teacher, and have worked as a Social Worker in schools.)

Good luck!
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Jul 22, 2005 12:11PM)
This will mean nothing I suppose...but I made a habbit of avoiding High School at every opportunity. I HATED it. I graduated with 45% attendence on the honor roll in one subject because I always managed to take the tests and pass. I attended graduation and was NOT given a diploma at that time. There was a stipulation that I would have to be employed for two years witout missing any time...thenm I would recieve the Diploma. I joined the Army...hahaha...no way to miss days.
Poibnt is...I was sent my Diploma...big deal....NO ONE EVER saw it...NO ONE ever asked to see it. "Are you a high school graduate?" "Yes" "Move along"

'This too shall pass' is absolute truth. Your mom is a gem. My high school sucked...I didn't...and that's what counted. During my days not going to school I spent at The Museum Of Natural History in NY City...that was my chosen education and his has worked wonderfully for a lifetime.
You'll do well and the only thing is your greedy school won't get funding for your missing days. Tough beans.

Message: Posted by: Dakota Rose (Jul 22, 2005 12:55PM)
Hi Everyone,

Thank you all so much for all your support. It was really tough going for a while. I did miss too much school last year and I did get lower grades because of it. They did send Mom several threatening letters but they never followed through with it. YEAH!!!

Well, one more year has gone by. (This is the fifth year that we have been dealing with this.) I'll be in eighth grade this year so I have 5 more years to go. Mom and I decided that we will still try to miss as little as possible but we are still going to go to magic conventions. We both feel strongly that it is an important part of my education and future.

I guess we will just have to deal with the threats (and lower grades) for the next five years till I graduate high school.

Like I said before, I love school so I'm not going to try home schooling. I want to graduate high school and go to college. It's just too bad that they don't understand missing 2-3 days every couple of months.

But Mom and I are going to be able to deal with this better because of all the support and ideas we have gotten from all of you. We can't thank you enough.

God bless all of you.

Dakota Rose
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Jul 25, 2005 11:03PM)

Your GPA and SAT scores will be the deciding factors of which college you go to. So if that is really important to you, cut back on the magic. Most magic conventions aren't all that different from one another from year to year, so be selective about the ones you elect to go to. Try to schedule as many as possible over the summer months.

School is easier to go to now than later. Trust me, I know. This is your chance to squeeze every benefit from school that you can. You have many more years to squeeze magic. It doesn't have the same clock as school.

Use this time to firmly cement your academic abilities and try to take some business and marketing classes as soon as they are available. Accounting too.

You will be suprised how handy they become.

Message: Posted by: Magicmaven (Aug 22, 2005 10:37PM)
Sounds like a great mom to me, although I couldn't be happier with the one I have.
I went to a public school for a couple years, but 'am currently in a private highschool. It is very rigerous. A couple of the students are actors, and when working on a film, they have a tutor (by law, that is necessary). You could try to get the schedual of all the possible due dates for homework essays reports... and dates of tests, before you leave. And, try to turn everything in, before you leave. It isn't easy. Above all, I suggest you talk to teachers, and cue them in on what is going on and try to work things out with them.

A magic trick for the judge?
Message: Posted by: CyberMage (Aug 25, 2005 10:35PM)

I understand that magic conventions are a big part of your personal and professional life. You certainly do learn a lot at these events. You are very fortunate to have a mother that is supportive. I have seen your act and seen it evolve and change as you are finding your niche. Yes, these experiences are good for you.

Let me give you something to think about as you are sorting through this. I am presuming that your intent is to become a professional magician one day and make this your career. Lets say that you continue doing what you are doing, accepting poorer grades and missing a good portion of curriculum. I'm also presuming that because of your chosen career path, you will have no plans to attend college after graduation and will be focusing on performing magic. So you graduate and do that for a few years. What happens if you get to this point and suddenly for some reason cannot perform magic anymore? What do you do then? You wouldn't have the skills to go out into the workforce and earn a decent living. You could to go back to college, but that costs money that may or may not be there. It will basically be a lot of time and effort that you will be spending just to catch up and get the skills necessary to earn a decent living.

I am not saying you should give up magic now.

Let me repeat that.

I am NOT saying you should give up magic now.

What I am saying is that your education is important and you should find a way to make both your magic AND education work for you. That way, you will always have something to fall back on.

I would recommend contacting Joshua Jay. He was a high school senior when I saw his lecture and it was absolutely amazing. He is in college now and still deals with this very issue. He may have some advice for you and your mom on how to cope with balancing school and magic.

I wish you the best of luck in everything you do.
Message: Posted by: weepinwil (Aug 28, 2005 07:11AM)
On 2005-01-23 17:26, Dakota Rose wrote:

My Mom is a single mother, so she works full time. So we couldn't do Home Schooling. Besides, I really like school. That may sound strange, but I do. I really want to stay in school. I have a lot of friends.


Then you may have to make some choices. First of all, with home schooling, at your age, you may be able to school yourself while your mother works and have a proctor grade your work, or mom could do that when she comes home. Second, if you like school and want to attend you will have to go by their rules and be there. Most schools have a set number of days you must attend.

I know it is a tough call but IMO the best thing your mother could do is to finish her education so she could support her family better and work less hours because while you may be good at 13 that does not guarantee you will be pro at 18 or 21 but a good education for her and you will open doors that will remain closed without it. In the meantime you could still continue your magic and go to conventions when you could arrange with your school and teachers to be away.

Be encouraged, you have a lot of time to become what you are to be and I hope all goes well with your mom and you in court.
Message: Posted by: Michael Dustman (Sep 1, 2005 05:27PM)

I was going to suggest the same thing Cybermage did in talking with Josh Jay. If I remember correctly, Mike Close did a feature story on him in MAGIC Magazine about 4 or 5 years ago and he talked about balancing school and magic.

Also, if you want, I work in the government in downtown Columbus and have some contacts in the Governor's office that I can poke around and see what I could do to assist. Give me the nod if you want me to check into it.

Message: Posted by: pasharabbit (Sep 9, 2005 06:59PM)
I suspect that your gifted in more than a few areas. You might want to look at enrolling in a school that has a performing arts program. You would get a more rounded performance background which will help you in your magic career. I was in a similar situation when I was 'in' school. Although I didn't do magic, I hung out in the library since I learned something there and nothing in school. As for college the really good ones will find your magic abilities more interesting on an application than a real high SAT score. If nothing pans out go into sales you don't need college and with your magic your sales calls will be real killers. Best to you and your mother. Sounds like your school district is run by idiots.
Message: Posted by: Danny Diamond (Sep 14, 2005 09:00AM)
I applaud your efforts and accomplishments in magic, but I do feel that you should put your education first at this point. It will be your foundation later in life. I understand that you intend on having a career in magic, but I think that you can get plenty of experience and practice, by sticking to weekend conventions and performances, or like some have suggested, just being more selective about the conventions that you do miss school for. A handful of missed days throughout school year is typical and shouldn't effect your grades. I think you have a long life ahead of you and you can focus 100% on magic, later in life. For now, maybe you cut your magic focus back from 100% to 50%. Save the other 50% for school, maybe a sport, a social life, and whatever else you encounter. You can never get your childhood back, so enjoy it while you can.
Message: Posted by: snap (Sep 14, 2005 02:55PM)
perhaps what you should do right now is focus on school. this would do two things. first of all, it would take some heat off your mom. this sounds like it's been an ongoing problem, so even if the matter has subsided for the moment, chances are it will just ignite again if you miss a lot of school right now. secondly, your education is one of the most important things you can have,even if you are planning on being a magician. I am in 11th grade and I have always been vigilant about putting my schoolwork first, and preparing for college, just incase the magic thing flops (you never know). so I think the best thing YOU can do right now is try and keep up on school and THEN do the magic thing.:)
Message: Posted by: toomuchmagic (Sep 16, 2005 01:19PM)
I just want to point out a few things.

1) This kid has better grammar, spelling, and writing skills than a lot of people I know who have college degrees.

2) He obviously is not lagging in his school work because he was holding A's and B's before the schools "policies" took away all his hard earned grades.

Schools should pride and award students with passion and dedication like this guy has. And Mom should be praised as well for supporting her son and being there for him through everthing. You know who should be punished. The parents who take their D average kids out of school to go to Disneyworld for a week.

Or the school that suspends kids for having nail clippers or playing cops and robbers with their hands shaped like guns. Or the school that ignores little suzy even though she comes to class wasted everyday. Or the school that passes little Johnny into high school, ignoring the fact that he can't read or understand basic arithmetic.

I am not telling you to forget about school or ignore the rules. But sometimes people will intepret rules a bit too harshly and not exactly for what they were intended. But you should never, ever give up on your real dreams and passions. Keep up with your school work, keep getting good grades. Keep your positive attitude, and always wear a smile no matter what people tell you that you can or can't do.

That way, when you keep going to your competitions and conventions and if they take you to court, their argument will not be as solid as yours. Look at the grades you earned, and your ambition to be better in more than one area of your life, and your supportive home life.

Keep going with school. Keep going with magic. And stick it hard to everyone that tried to stand in your way.

You're the man!

I wish you the best of luck.
Message: Posted by: snap (Sep 16, 2005 04:16PM)
While it is true that dakota should persue his dreams, he also mentioned that when he is out of school, he gets zero's on tests and homeworks. since he is only in eighth grade, right now his grades don't matter as much as they will in a year. I am in high school, and am a performing magician. I go to conventions only in the summer and still manage to keep up on magic (i am not, however, saying this is what dakota should do). from what dakota has said, it sounds like he would like to go to college. if this is the case, then his GPA will matter tremendously. I think it's fine if he still goes to magic conventions, but I think, right now, anyway, his primary focus should be school, and then magic, as it should be when one is getting an education.

just my opinion :)
Message: Posted by: Proillusions (Oct 9, 2005 11:55AM)
"Toomuchmagic"'s post kicks some real butt. It's really good advice. In fact, you were fortunate to receive a lot of sound advice from the other Café members. To add any further comments would only be repeating what has already been said. In conclusion Dakota, "Don't go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail".


Message: Posted by: muzicman (Oct 14, 2005 12:58AM)
I agree that a HS diploma is nearly worthless these days. I see graduates all the time that cannot spell or form proper sentences. They cannot make change and they are quitters when something gets tough.

I certainly don't understand your situation. When I went to school, some kids missed allot of days and never had a problem. Maybe things are different now. An unexcused absence would mar anyone's record. It gives the appearance that the parents did not know they were absent. An excused absence was never a problem for anyone I've ever known. I have never seen a school or teacher get upset that a student with an excused absence was denied the assignments for the day(s) missed. I would find fault in the school system and start a legal battle if that ever happened to my kids.

Magic can offer an exciting career and it could provide you with the means to support yourself for many years. However, putting all your eggs in THAT basket is not wise. There is no guarantee no matter how good you are. I would recommend staying in school and getting a diploma. Get every absence excused with a note from your mom and make up any missed assignments for the days missed. You might slow down a little on your magic if it starts to become too much to handle. Don't quit, but slow down a little. You have all your life to show the world your mitts. Get past the school years and the world is yours.
Message: Posted by: David Bilan (Oct 29, 2005 03:48AM)
Federal funding for schools is based on a head count. Didn't seem to be much of a problem 20-30 years ago, but now it is...

Some school systems are very tight about what they allow. Unless you want to go the home school route, you are stuck playing by the schools system's rules.

Whatever else goes on in life, no one can take away what you've learned. That diploma may not seem like much right now, but in the long run, it most likely will pay off, even if magic is your only source of income.
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Oct 31, 2005 12:06AM)
The "No Child Left Behind" initiative (really a requirement) is a blind that forces schools to test, test, test and to TEACH FOR THE TEST, as opposed to TEACH FOR EDUCATION.

It's all well and fine to try to quantify the results of an educational system, but there are numerous problems with the system including a serious lack of psychometricians to evaluate the essay questions. In one school district in Oregon, if I recall correctly, fully one quarter of the students in one school were incorrectly graded and HELD BACK because of it! At least one kid killed himself because of it - and, on review, his essay, which had been graded incorrectly, would have allowed him to PASS and GRADUATE with his class!

Needless to say, this program, growing as it is, under the requirements of the legisaltion, is a disaster in the making.

The Discovery/New York Times Channel did a special on this program recently and the results of their investigation showed that the NCLB program will cause more harm than good in the first decade of its run than the existing programs AND it will cost over ten times as much.

Not only that, but the rewards model that the NCLB program uses actually punishes school systems that already have high achievement levels becuse they simply cannot improve at the mandated rates necessary to even maintain their current rates of federal funding!

With teachers already being among some of the lowest paid professionals in the American work force, this is simply an insult to the students, the teachers and the taxpayers who are footing the bill.

And forget about programs like music and the arts, entirely. NCLB has NO room for them at all.

Welcome to the Brave New World, where students are told what to read, how to calculate and how to handle science experiments - but not how to think, are not exposed to other cultures and have no idea about the arts and music.

Does the phrase "culturally bankrupt" ring a bell with anyone?

Can you also tell that I used to be on a parent's advisory board to a high school and that my favorite gigs are post proms and college shows? Can you also tell that I am fed up with politicians who know nothing about education trying to fix a system that they know nothing about and refuse to listen to anyone who is really on the front lines in?

Lee Darrow, C.H.
<rant mode: off>
Message: Posted by: Turk (Dec 9, 2005 04:03PM)

Most, if not all, states have a Lawyer Referrral Service as part of their State Bar organization. As such, a group of lawyers have agreed to meet with a prospective client for a minimum period of time (such as 1/2 hour) for a very minimum fee. I would encourage you to contact your state bar and to obtain the services of an attorney who specializes in Education Law and/or Civil Rights Law. I would also encourage you to contact your local chapter of the ACLU and discuss the situation with them. It is possible that any and all of the above attorneys and organizations might be able to suggest a remedy and might even be willing to represent you pro bono or on a contingency basis and to go after the school and the school district.

A good offense is sometimes the best defense. Know also that governmental agencies HATE contorversy and if they know in advance that they are in for a fight (and possibly bad publicity), and that yu and your Mom are willing to go to the mat and fight for what you believe in and against what you perceive as "bad policy", it is amazing "cooperative" they can become.

At the very least, there might be some way to categorize your extra-curricular magic activities as a form of "in-kind" education that would both exempt you from school during your absence AND might qualify for the "Attendence" requirements that the schools are looking at to qualify for maximum federal funds. And, if worse goes to worst, perhaps a civil rights action for violation of constitutional rights might be an actionable rememdy for you.

And, if all else fails, I'd consider contacting the local newspaper(s) and TV and radio stations and try to get them interested in a Human Interest story. Government Agencies [b]hate[/b] it when the light of day is shined on them and their idiotic policies. Sometimes, the publicity (and sometimes just the threat of the publicity) is enough to get them to reconsider and, miraculously, find a way to "work with you".

Sometimes guerrila warfare is the only viable option. If you are looking at 5 more years of this and if your college eligibility is being threatened, I'd really consider going on the offense and at least talking with one or more attorneys, contacting the local media and otherwise taking a very aggressive approach to resolving this situation. And, if it is deemed (by your attorneys) that you have a viable cause of action against the school and school district, a successful lawsuit and the accompanying money damages might make a good start for your "college fund".

Keep your chin up. And be thankful that you have such a caring and neat Mom. You are truly blessed.


BTW, many colleges are very interested in you--as a person. And while grades are preliminarily important in the selection process, Deans of Admissions are very interested in you as a complete person and what you can "bring to the school" and what might be accurate predictors of acedemic success AND success in life. Your extracurricular activities might prove to be a very telling offset to lower GPA--especially if the circumstances surrounding the lower GPA can be satisfactorily explained.