parent’s just don’t understand

Washington Post:  Officials’ Silence Puts Parents ‘at Arm’s Length’

Schools nationwide are calling on parents to get involved. The Maryland State Board of Education endorsed a broad range of family outreach initiatives in a 2005 report that called public education “a shared responsibility.”

Yet some parents in Montgomery County and elsewhere have discovered limits on the get-involved policy when they ask questions about individual teachers, whether those queries are about alleged abuse of students or a decision to fire a popular instructor.

Parental involvement:  Ignored if you do, condemned if you don’t.  Yet another good reason to homeschool.

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24 Comments

Filed under customer service, I believe the children are our future, sad, stupid government

24 responses to “parent’s just don’t understand

  1. There is a fine line, I suppose between personal privacy (for the teachers) and the rights of taxpayers and parents to know what’s what. Teacher contracts are “negotiated” on a system by system basis, so your experience will be different from that of your friends on the shore.
    Wicomico County requires grounds for dismissal of a tenured teacher, does Montgomery County?

  2. KP

    pretty vague…where is the actual proof that parents are being turned away? you appear to judge based on very limited information here. maybe the parents were “troublemakers” and just being ignorant? i’d like to know more about this….

  3. Rob

    not to pour water on the torch of seriousness… but thanks for putting DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince in my head…
    no, no, no, no way, uh uh, forget it…

  4. Need to know more info. on this matter. My God, don’t teacher’s have rights too? BTW: Homeschooling isn’t the answer to all the problems either.

  5. Homeschooling is an answer to many of the problems which plague our public schools, and it’s a good one. When done properly, homeschooling is very effective, and the biggest argument I ever had against it is no longer viable (that many colleges and universities would not accept homeschooled students), as many post-secondary institutions are now accepting portfolios in lieu of transcripts.

  6. KP and Angela, did you guys read the article I linked to? It was in the Post. It wasn’t a huge/long investigative report, but it had a bit more info than the quote I included here.

  7. Many ISN’T ALL!!!

  8. Chris, no I didn’t link to the article itself. I’m just tired of teachers getting such a bad rap. There are pro’s and con’s to homeschooling but personally I see more con’s. My opinion. Just sick and tired of teachers working their butts off and still getting no respect. Done issue…just sick of it.

  9. well here’s a tip: if I link to an article, read it before you respond. that goes for anyone reading along with us here…

    if you had read it, you would have seen this had virtually nothing to do with teachers — it was about the schools/administration failure to consider the parents who are legitimately trying to participate. the one group of parents were actually rallying behind a teacher that they thought was exceptional, and she was still forced into an early retirement.

  10. Well here’s a tip too: Maybe the article should have put this “uplifting, support your teacher” story at the BEGINNING of the article….if that was the main idea. But no, it was left to the end, after the article mentioned a teacher once again hitting a student with a ruler while the class counted to 10 in French. Then goes on to mention how a student is now traumatized by witnessing the so called incident.
    God, can’t we talk about something else?

  11. KP

    guh here we go again. this is another public school bashing party. just like the last issue of arresting 2nd graders this report focuses ONLY on 2 incidents. first of all if this girl is soooooooooo traumatized by the ruler incident, then her parents really screwed up. regardless, the teacher in question was wrong and is no longer employed so the school can do no more about that. second, if a teacher is let go, then the school has that right, just like any private business. The parents were allowed to voice their opinion and since their opinion didn’t sway things they complain. Get over it….
    Public schools (like every other “business”) have problems. Like every thing else in this world the few bad apples and incidents damn the whole organization.

  12. sorry Angela, this is the only topic that generates any discussion… 😛

    the ruler girl is different, as it was a teacher administering punishment — of course I can understand how that might make a child afraid to ask another teacher for help with homework. there is a big difference between a teacher improperly disciplining a child and the child from the handcuffing incident throwing a tantrum.

    since when are public schools like ANY other business? their customers are forced to be there, they get all their revenues from taxpayers (forced to pay), and they aren’t accountable for any results. as a ‘public’ institution, there should be as much transparency into the processes as possible — closed door meetings to remove teachers just make it look shady, even if removing her was legit. they won’t even explain why she was removed — her students were performing WELL for pete’s sake.

  13. Isn’t Maryland an at-will state? If that’s the case, then the schools in Wicomico County are NOT like any other business in that a tenured teacher must be given cause for dismissal.
    And seriously, what cons are there to homeschooling done right?

  14. I think Angela’s concern was that while ‘Many’ post-secondary institutions will accept the home-schooled, not ‘ALL’ colleges and universities will.

    And shame on you Kelly, that’s a sucker-question… “what cons are there to [any verb] done right?” Obviously if it’s “done right” there wouldn’t be any cons. There are virtually no cons to public education “done right”. It’s when things fall short that the negative consequences have the potential to snowball — same with home schooling I imagine.

  15. True, but as a parent you have limited control over your child’s public education. That article is a huge case in point. With homeschooling, you have both full control and full responsibility… Oh wait, that’s what’s wrong with homeschooling.

  16. I’ve seen parents involved with their child’s education in public school and it’s been wonderful. Other’s aren’t involved and it sucks. Home schooling parents that do it wrong can really damage their child. Home schooling done right is fine. I’ve just seen more people home school their child WRONG and the poor child suffers. TO EACH HIS OWN! Have a child, decide what you want to do, do it, and don’t complain. Now I sound like Killer.

  17. KP

    first of all being involved in the school as a parent does not mean helping to make administrative decisions involving the hiring and firing and discipline of teachers. it means helping the teachers with work. being an extra set of eyes or hands in the classroom. when there are 10 kids with their hands up because they need help on their work how great would it be to have a couple extra people to walk around and help those kids on that assignment? one teacher per 20-30 kids is tough to handle.
    i still say this article only shows 2 incidents that may be shady. what about the hundreds that aren’t? i do not say public schools are infallible. quite the contrary. but to condemn ALL public schools due to these 2 cases is generalizing and unfair.

  18. kevin

    Being involved in the school might not mean making personnel decisions. But it doesn’t mean that parents are expected to just turn a blind eye toward them. From what you say if a great teacher is let go, I shouldn’t care. But what about a bad teacher who I question should be teaching? I shouldn’t get to choose my child’s teachers, but a parent should also not be expected to turn a blind eye toward all educators either.

    And I also don’t think I like the idea of other parents walking around the classroom “teaching” my child. That is the teachers job, not some stranger. While I appreciate that it would be a help to have and extra set of hands or two, or fewer kids, there is a reason that teachers are trained.

  19. Kevin,
    If you are concerned about a “bad” teacher teaching, then it is your responsibility as a parent to voice your opinion loud and clear to the administrators of that building….. over and over again. If you remember, I brought up the issue of me ( a teacher ) having to meet with my son’s administrator, law enforcement, and loose a half personal day…. just so my son wasn’t taken advantage of or another case of an attack being “swept under the rug”. You would think that being a teacher myself, that the school administrators would have “looked out” for me and followed thru with the code of conduct. But NO, they did not. It’s your responsibility to stand up for your child. Schools do not want to report misconduct because they are held accountable for it.
    As far as having extra hands in the classroom… I believe a good teacher would know how to utilize the “parent helper”, to best meet the needs of their students. I have parents who volunteer ( parents have every right to be in the school with their child) and I use them to do a variety of things…. as I see fit. However, I’ve been teaching for 10 plus years and parent volunteers are hard to come by. I’ve never seen parents just walking around the classroom.
    I don’t know your situation, but if you have a teacher your concerned about…….voice your opinion. Also, don’t forget to compliment those “good” teachers who are still out there 🙂

  20. If you guys liked the Washington Post treatment, you would have LOVED the Cato commentary on the article, which is what initially alerted me to the story:
    http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2007/05/07/government-schools-to-parents-leave-your-money-your-kid-and-shut-your-mouth/

    If you don’t like the idea of school choice, don’t bother going there, you’re not going to like it.

  21. KP

    stop me if you heard this before. the 2 (that’s right, only TWO!!) incidents involved in this article are not a fair way to pass judgment on the nation like the last link you put up….you are not in that school so maybe the teacher did something horrifically wrong that the school didnt want to go public with in order to keep from ruining her reputation?

    chris you have become far worse at generalizing than I. you condemn the nation’s school system based on a few incidents that look heinous at first glance, but if you dig deeper there is probably a hidden agenda.

  22. the “nation’s school system”? there is no such thing, there are thousands of local school systems. as a teacher, I’d expect you to understand that.

    as a citizen, I understand that, and I wholly understand that these incidents are specific to Montgomery County. I will leave it to the reader to conclude if this might be similar to their hometown, and to other commenters to give insight as to whether this is common in other jurisdictions. how’s that?

    as for a hidden agenda, whatever. that kind of talk just makes you sound paranoid.

  23. KP

    here are a few general quotes that you feel are okay from that article that generalize about our entire government or school system:

    1. perfectly sums up the government school response to involved parents; leave it to the professionals, stupid.

    2. Across the country, parents hit a solid wall of silence when they question the actions of school administrators.

    3. But these same administrators have the gall to blame uninvolved parents for the sorry state of our government schools.

    By hidden agenda I meant the fact that the school may have had a good reason to NOT inform people why they fired that teacher. I didn’t mean that there was some serious paranoia. My bad there.

    However, just like the last time there was serious debate here, you have used a few examples to condemn an entire system that you dont like. I feel the quotes above support that. (and i hate to repeat myself but apparently you’re just not getting it or are ignoring the obvious)

  24. first of all — if this is what passes for serious debate, I’m ashamed. and you should be too. [there — that may be the most generalizing and meaningless statement so far. by that measure, I win (lose, whatever… can we stop now?)]

    as for the school having a good reason not to tell the parents why they were firing a teacher that seemed to be nothing but a great influence and educator of their children — no, I can’t think of one single good reason. if it was something horrific or criminal, the parents should be informed. if it’s something stupid and petty, then the parents should be told so it can be exposed as an illegitimate reason. and yes, I will be the arbitrator of what is illegitimate or not. 😛

    seriously, tell me one “good reason” that would justify this kind of secrecy?

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