OT again: Parents could be fined for missing school meetings

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Only a tenured one would try. The way union rules are constructed, people with advanced degrees cannot be hired except at a higher rate of pay. Once tenured, even with a guaranteed pay raise for life, only around 20% in my state complete a masters. Teachers by and large are not academically oriented.
Then there's the matter of what that advanced degree would consist of. Having been there, it's a sorry set of feel-good no-fail most often no research or paper courses designed to make it easy to get through, leaving a money trail behind for the university. It's really disheartening to hear the traditional "is this material going to be on the test" question posed even in these classes by those seeking the most gain for the least effort. If the teacher, and that's what they are, _teachers_, education is the integration and internalization of knowledge, has this attitude, how can they expect their pupils to react otherwise in their classrooms?
Even "professional development" courses which were conceived of as a way to expose teachers to new methods rather than new information are going under here, because the Intermediate School District tasked with providing them has money problems, and won't pay for the subs and mileage. They're paying for aides and special effort to teach the unreachable with that money. Seems counterintuitive to spend increasingly on an individual kid, rather than on the teacher who touches all of them, but that's what's happening, and with the cooperation of the teachers themselves.
Then there are those like the people talking "constitution" and "law" to deal with. They can't understand that with no obligation on those receiving the money and effort to participate in obtaining a positive outcome, it's merely sand down the rathole. Trouble is, such talk infects the parents and kids with its arrogance and contempt for individual obligation every time "rights" to the public purse, free of obligation, are mentioned.
Last time I checked, non-appearance in court resulted in forfeiture of bail and the issuance of an arrest warrant. So the difference is?
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J. Clarke wrote:
| wrote: | || J. Clarke wrote: || ||| The schools had those parents for 12 years and the thing that ||| amazes me is that those parents are willing to let that system ||| get its hands on _their_ kids. || || Well, actually the parents don't have (or don't think they have) a || choice. | | Skipping country is always an option.
Well, I'm trying to figure out how we might improve our system. Running away from problems hardly ever constitutes a solution. As much as our educational system needs improvement, it's worth noting that there are places in the world where universal education hasn't been a priority. I left home after ninth grade because, at that time, there was no tenth grade anywhere in the country where I was living.
||| First, shoot the "educators" and the education professors and the ||| education theorists and burn all the education texts and start ||| over with a clean slate--it would be difficult for them to do ||| worse than what we have now. || || Even in Texas I don't think you can do that. It's important to || remember that no matter where you're going, you can only start from || where you are. I suspect (but don't actually know) that Texas' || educators could do a lot worse than is being done now. I'll also || guess that there are ways to make *huge* improvements without || spending very much. | | Of course there are, but does the theory on which educators are | operating allow it?
I'm not familiar with "the theory". I am sure that at least some states frameworks _do_ allow a certain amount of flexibility in how educational objectives are met.
|| How many Texas school districts are tapping into local (volunteer) || resources to add substance to their programs? For example, the HISD || sits in what must be an ocean of "rocket scientists" and engineers || posessed of awesome math and computer skills - people who know for || a fact that with the right intellectual tools, not even the sky is || a limit. It's probably worth asking: "How many times in how many || years has the HISD tapped that wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm || so that it's students might catch fire?" | | Do any of those engineers and scientists have teaching certificates | in math or "computer literacy"? If not then they aren't | "qualified". My high school chemistry and physics teacher was | associated with the Manhattan Project. One year she was not | allowed to teach physics or chemistry because according to some | piece of education-theoretical bureaucratic nonsense she wasn't | "qualified", while Johnny Mac "the only physics I ever took was | Ex-Lax" the football coach was according to the rules "qualfiied" | and so he taught physics and chemistry.
In at least some states it's acceptable for non-certified persons to contribute to the instructional program provided a regular teacher is present. At least one state does not require the presence of the regular teacher; and at least one state allows (or used to allow non-certified persons to substitute on a limited-term (temporary) basis for regular teachers.
This isn't new stuff. AFAIK, most schools tap their local police and fire departments for help in presenting safety information - partly because these people know what they're talking about; and partly for the "wow" factor for the kids.
||| And this won't happen until the teachers actually _know_ from ||| first hand experience what value that knowledge has in their ||| world beyond school. And that can't happen as long as most ||| teachers go from school to teachers' college to teaching school ||| without ever once having to find out how to apply that knowledge ||| themselves. || || I don't want to hear someone say that this isn't a solvable || problem. | | The trouble is getting there from here without going somewhere else | first.
The route _may_ turn out to be indirect; and that's ok provided that it doesn't lead the young folks into danger. I said early-on that I didn't know of any quick fixes.
|| All you're talking about here is getting teachers a little || exposure to the world outside their classrooms! | | First you have to convince the educational theorists that the | teacher actually has to have such experience, until then they'll | fight you tooth and claw.
Not necessarily true (unless you're going for a quick fix by making sweeping changes). First we need to convince teachers and school boards that such experience would be of significant benefit to students and teachers; and we need to find some way to reward teachers for expending the time and energy required. Cash would be good; but a "golden apple" and enhanced professional/community standing might go a long way.
|| Perhaps it'd be worth developing || an internship program and mandating three months of participation || in field-related work prior to granting a masters degree in || education... | | How many teachers have a master's degree?
I've known a bunch; but have no idea of the actual number.
||| Oh, the kids know why they're taking the courses. Because each ||| one takes them one step closer to escaping from durance vile. || || Regrettably each step along _this_ path leads down, rather than up. | | Unfortunately. Personally I maintained a good enough average to be | accepted to Annapolis and Georgia Tech, but if someone had burned | the school to the ground I'd have been the first to thank him. | || Kids need to know that they're not wasting their time in school. | | To convince them of that first you have to be sure that they | _aren't_ wasting their time.
They aren't wasting their time - perhaps that's difficult to grasp if you haven't lived in a country with a 10% literacy rate - the problems lie in delivering the best return on their time and energy and helping them to perceive the value of both their investment and the lifetime return on that investment.
It's a real challenge. Kids see things in the short term and have difficulty seeing beyond the immediate. One remedy (the only one I've found) is to "grow" their knowledge at a pace such that they find excitement in their own progress. My experience has been that once kids discover that learning can be exciting, it's difficult to hold 'em back and the teaching challenge is to keep 'em from running into blind alleys.
|| Being || kids, they need to experience some excitement in learning, they || need to feel the thrill of discovery - and, above all, they need to || recognize that they are capable of accomplishing worthwhile things. || _This_ is the path /up/! | | Oh, they recognize that they are capable of accomplishing worthwhile | things. The trouble is that instead of accomplishing worthwhile | things they're stuck in school.
And so the problem becomes one of _encouraging_ them to do worthwhile things _in_ school and to exert adult leadership in guiding them in constructive directions while they're students. It's important to always remember that kids are our intellectual equals - and that the only "advantages" we have are the body of factual knowledge we've acquired since we were in school and whatever wisdom (experience of consequence) we managed to accumulate.
|||| only thing I did differently was to make sure they understood |||| _why_ we studied each topic and how mastering the course material |||| might affect their lives. That tiny bit extra was all they |||| needed! ||| ||| And that's the difference between you and a typical schoolteacher. ||| You actually _know_ how to apply that math to real-world problems. || || So? Let's ask The Big Question: "What can be done to help || teachers-to-be gain that experience/perspective?" | | And the answer, alas, begins with shooting all the education | theorists.
I think you're too focused on these (remote) theorists and need to refocus on how we can better meet the educational needs of the kids in front of us here and now.
| Of course there's also the "them as can do, them as can't teach" | issue--any teacher who can get a job that gains that experience and | perspective is unlikely to give it up to teach school.
I won't argue with you on that. Instead, let me say a couple of words about my high school chemistry teacher: Doc Johnson was a scrawny shiny-headed old guy who loved chemistry and after a long career as a research chemist for either Dow or DuPont (I can't remember which) he retired to share his love with young people. About the time he arrived I decided that I'd rather take chemistry than biology, so ended up in one of his first classes. I struggled all the way through the course and was probably a PIA to have in class - but Doc prevailed and, somehow, I managed a passing grade. There were three points worth noting on the last day of class: [1] Doc Johnson never gave any sign of disappointment in how I performed; [2] I wasn't terribly proud of the grade I'd earned; and [3] neither Doc Johnson nor I had difficulty recognizing that my knowledge of basic chemistry had grown considerably since the previous September. I was glad the course was over and put the memory of it behind me the following year as I started in on physics...
...until time for college boards. I needed to take a science exam and was only partway through my year of physics. I opted to take the chemistry test only because I'd already finished the course; but I hope to tell you that I had some serious misgivings. I didn't feel a bit better after taking the exam and wondered how much damage I might have done to my chances for getting into college.
Results arrived an eternity (probably only a couple of months) later. I ran into Doc Johnson in the hallway (not realizing that the results had also been made available to him) and got a big smile: "Nice job, Morris. Your 798 was about what I'd expected. Keep up the good work," and he walked away down the hall.
There's a point to all this: Doc Johnson did, indeed, have a doctorate in chemistry; and, no, he had no teaching credentials - but the fact is that it is possible to both do _and_ teach - and to do both well.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto
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I've long wondered where this "get the teachers a little outside world experience" BS came from.
Every teacher I know has worked somewhere other than in a school. Every single one. Most kids who go on to become teachers do not come from wildly priviliged backgrounds, so have to find a way to fund college. Most of us do that by working. Many years ago, the HS math teacher I was engaged to for a time had worked her way through college as a waitress. While I only did sub teaching, I did a lot of different things to get through college, including, I guess you could say, spending four years in the Marines, loading trucks at night and running a corner grocery store at night. My oldest stepdaughter worked summers at a McDonald's--long enough ago that it wasn't a thing to sneer at--and my grandson is helping fund his time at UVa working summers for our local city as a computer whatever, while he also pays some bills at school working on student' computers--officially. He's study computer science and may well teach aspects of that subject.
All these people need to get a touch of real life.
Or maybe they need to relate their subjects to what they're doing. The oldest stepdaughter teaches Latin, and every other year takes a group of her students to Italy, Greece and similar areas to look at what has resulted from the Greco-Roman bit. I can't speak for my former fiancee, as I haven't seen or heard from her in more than 40 years, but...all the teachers I know have had a touch or two of real life during their ivory tower years.
I could wish for better actual subject knowledge for some teachers: English teachers are the ones I catch out most often (which probably makes a lot of sense). But, in general, they know what they have been taught by the preceding generation of teachers, good or bad. When you see the number of wildly different solutions that come up to a moderately complex engineering question here, and elsewhere, on-line, you have to wonder if just maybe the liberal arts aren't the only subjects in need of more intensive and correct coverage, but that seems to result more from college education lacks than lacks in high school.
But not all fields translate directly to work: it is difficult to take teacher who handles algebra and plane geometry in high school and place them in a job that uses those fields without other training. Same with most HS lab sciences. Yes, there are related jobs and the subjects are vital. But, as we find with getting kids to understand the relationship, it's not easy relating those subjects directly and without additions to any particular job.
All in all, not a subject that is easily covered or a problem that is easily solved.
You're going to have teachers who don't have a clue. You will have other teachers who are sharp, can motivate kids, and do a wonderful job. When these people are first hired, it's usually impossible to tell the difference.
I do wonder if merit pay is some of the answer, just to stick a really rough oar into the water of controversy.
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wrote:

And how did she apply what she learned in school to waitressing? How did going to school help her get that job? Has she ever done anything in which the subject that she is teaching was actually a bona-fide occupational qualification? If not then how is she supposed to convince the kids that it's useful for anything?

And how did your public school education prepare you for this?

And her public school education helped her get this job by . . .?

Using the computer skills he learned in public school?

And public school prepared him for this by . . .?

Nice if you've got the budget for that.

A touch or two of real life perhaps, but have they ever worked in a position in which knowledge of the subject they teach was of significant benefit in doing the job? That's where the problem lies.
One good one I had was an English teacher who was a former Marine Drill Instructor. He was big on acting. And he could relate that to the training of soldiers.

In engineering any solution that meet the specs is "correct". Where I see the problems arise _here_ is in misinterpreting or ignoring the specs.

And they should know math beyond algebra and plane geometry. However if they have worked a drafting job they'll know the value of both of those in their own right.
Of course plane geometry properly taught isn't about geometry, it's about the nature of proof--geometry class is the first and in many cases the only time that a student is required to actually produce a mathematically rigorous proof of anything.

And a trouble with those lab sciences is that the teachers generally don't understand the scientific method themselves and so the emphasis is on getting the right answer and not on the nature of experimental science. The kid whose experiment is wildly in error and who learns _why_ it is so far off gets more out of it than the ones who just do a procedure and get the expected result.
My _college_ physics labs were run by a delightfully devious woman who carefully contrived that the results be in error. She's file the micrometers and cut the specimens out of square and so on and do it just subtly enough that you didn't catch it by looking at the stuff.

And the sharp ones generally burn out on the politics of the job early on and either turn into mindless functionaries or find something else to do that involves less politics.

If it can actually be assigned on the basis of merit and not on who is the most skillful toady.
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Charlie Self wrote:

My wife worked in the "Corporate World" for 13 years, and helped run the family business for 3 years, a very busy asbestos and lead abatement contractor, before becoming an elementary school teacher. I paid for her Elementary Ed. and Spanish degrees as she went.
My wife's best friend at work sold television advertising (commissioned, not salaried) for ESPN for 8 years before adding his education degree and becoming an elementary teacher.
A former employee / friend (still <G>) of mine recently quit the Fortune 50 corporation we worked for to become a high school physics teacher. He was here for 11 years as an engineer and technician, preceded by 6 years in the Navy as a reactor operator. He did almost his entire education at night and on weekends. Our state requires (2) Masters degrees to be a certified teacher. He built up personal savings so he could quit and do his last year full-time, as student teaching assignments and some major classes are not available at night.
Both of the men above were single and supported themselves while getting the education and performing unpaid student teaching assignments. Neither of them lived with relatives or had a spouse to support them. All three examples made excellent money in the careers they left.
No "real world" experience there at all... <G>
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B A R R Y wrote:

Typo alert! <G>
That's two Bachelor's degrees.
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wrote:

What state is that?
And nobody is saying that there are no good teachers. The trouble is that a few good teachers do not make a good education system. They have to _all_ be good.
It's a funny thing, but most parents agree that education in the US is in trouble but that the school _their_ child attends is one of the few good ones.
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J. Clarke wrote:

Connecticut. For some reason, I thought you lived here.
All public school teachers are required to start an approved Master's program within 5 years, and complete it within 8, at their own expense. Private and parochial schools are exempt and often have lower requirements and lower pay.
I believe a master's degree right off the bat cancels the second bachelor's, but I'm not positive.
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wrote:

I can't find anything about either requirement in the regulations. There is a requirement for additional coursework, but I find nothing that requires a second degree. In any case the UCONN program results in both Bachelors and Masters degrees in one go along with subject specialization.
Further, your timing doesn't really coincide with the duration of any of the certificates.
The complete text of the regulations can be found at <http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/PDF/Cert/regulations/regulations.pdf .
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J. Clarke wrote:

Sigh... <G>
Do you know any public school teachers? Will any of them talk to you?
Ask them to explain it to you slowly. The minimum requirements lead to two bachelors or a masters.
I don't teach pigs to sing, and I'm not interested in having minor details picked to death, so I'm really not interested in playing.
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It's some times like getting caught up in a loop.
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Uh oh... lemme guess. Is he at it again? Seems that is all he lives for. I see the name show up on the list. I sort it by 'reply' and I see this ol' familiar see-saw. I can't believe my eyes.
What an asshole.
r (things warming up a little down there?)
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wrote:

I know several, one in the Biblical sense.

Read the regulations. The requirement is "either a master's degree or at least 30 semester hours of graduate credit".

In other words when presented with the regulations rather than read them and find out what they say, and show me that I'm wrong, you'll bluster and call me names. That says that you aren't really sure of your ground and are more interested in "winning" than in determining the truth.
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J. Clarke wrote:

The "+30" is manifested in her case and many other SCSU education department graduates by a second bachelors. <G>
My wife left school one December with two bachelors degrees, one in Elementary Ed, the other in Spanish. She was hired the next day as a full-time public school teacher, with _zero_ "graduate credits".
She got her master's in Science Education 4 years later. The program she did her master's degree in didn't award progressive individual credits, but was a full time weekend / summer all or nothing program. She actually never had any graduate credits until she got them all at once with he degree. If she didn't finish the program she would have received zero credit.

No, but I know exactly what I paid for at SCSU and am not interested in splitting nits.
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wrote:

That's a policy of the college, not a requirement of the regulations.

Would you read the bleeding regs? If she got her master's 4 years later that means that she got her two degrees and zero graduate credits before some time in 2003, when the regulation changed, before that it was just 30 hours of courseword, it wasn't until late in 2003 that the requirement was changed to 30 hours of graduate credit.
As for her enrolling in an "all or nothing program" that was her choice, again not a requirement of the regulations. One is not required to enroll in a "program" to get 30 hours of graduate credit--every grad school I've ever encountered allows one to take individual courses.
You seem to be confusing choices that individuals have made with actions required by regulation.

You may know what you paid for but if you don' know the regs you don't know if you got a good deal or were robbed.
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Not funny. Sad really. If only they would attend school meetings, see what is going on, and learn how wrong they are.
Got any suggestions as to how to make that happen?
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Quite a discussion going on. I seem to have missed the logical answer. Vouchers, and let folks who don't like public school rules or education quality vote with their feet.
Although my kids are grown with families of their own, I still have a stake in the school system. I help with the grandkids' tuition so they can attend a Catholic school (and I'm Lutheran). The plan is to continue until they reach the 8th grade.
John
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Man, there is some really weird opinons here. So much vitriol... and you can really smell the differevces in people and their respective generations, and for those playing the rec.woodworking home version for some time, it has to be fascinating to see the personalities reveal themselves. It sure has been for me.
I am surprised to see here that so many think that the only ones affected by this would be homeless Asian lesbian single mothers of two that have 3 eight hour a day minimum wage jobs that they ride the bus to every day. All of those folks seem to work for pitiless tyrants that perch like vultures waiting for any infraction to fire them.
In the rough and tumble world of blue collar construction workers, it works like this at my company: "Hey Robert... can I have a long lunch on Wednesday? The boy got his dumbass in trouble again, and me and the old lady need to go meet his teacher before he falls to far behind". It is Monday.. they show me some consideration, so it is mutual. "Yeah, go ahead... just get back as soon as you can." Or I may have to ask him to move it up or down a day or move the time of day. I am not blowing my own horn; it is good business and employee relations in the 21st century.
Strangely, all the construction companies > I < know operate this way. It makes good employee relations, and that almost always comes back to you. But there is another aspect, too. If I said no, they would go anyway. Many of them are like me, without a strong family life, so the in turn have made the decision that they kid will have what they did not.
Also, as a card carrying member of the great unwashed like me, those same guys see the value of education. They tell their kids what I was told as a kid by my father. "You listen to me... I go to work every day to feed, clothe and put a roof over your head. So does your mother. If you think you are going to barely slide through school when all you have to do is pay attention and do your homework to get by, you have another thing coming". I paraphrased, and left out all the colorful metaphors.
My Dad went to one parent teacher conference, and after the special consultation he had with me when we got home, I made myself scarce around the house for about a month. It straightened me out for another three, too.
Having done a lot of work for school teachers (you get referrals from one, and they are a referring bunch!) I have had a chance to talk to many of them across the economic range. Believe me, it isn't just the poor, downtrodden, and economically disadvantaged that miss these meetings. Busy soccor moms, cheerleader moms, football moms and dads, moms and dads with more than one kid, all seem to have great reasons for not wanting to meet. I love what these teachers of our upper class tell me the responses are when meetings are missed.
"I thought you would call me and remind me of the meeting"
"Well, since I already missed it, can you email me something?"
"I talked to my kid and he says he will take care of whatever it is you are calling me about"
"Do you have a supervisor? I think this is something we can handle on the phone and I have just enough time right now"
I don't know about anyone else's community, buy in ours the well to do have just as many problems as the not so well to do. In fact, I think in my almost 35 years as a blue collar man, the blue collar system has less problems with the kids.
Someway, some educators got in their minds that face to face is better than telephone conferences, etc. That has been a long held belief here in sunny Texas for years and years. Ever since I can remember, and certainly when I was a kiddo, we had telephones and telephone consultations would have been used if effective.
In some school districts, the teacher (!) want this fine, as THEY are getting blamed when the parents don't show up. They are bound to ahe a certain amount of contact with each parent of their (average in Texas is I believe 164 in high school) kids every semester. They are further bound by the rules of their district to approach parents when they cannot control or teach their kids. So whether they want to or not, they are actively involved in the contacting of parents whether it is an innocuous update or for discourse on a subject of greater gravity.
The guys here should know too, that no one here thinks in their hearts the fines will provide THE key to parental involvement. It will provide impetus for some, and not for others. But the guy that wrote the bill is a bit of an idealist, surrounded by other idealists, and he felt like they would be successful it they just reached a handful of parents they wouldn't have otherwise seen. Really, his bill has almost no chance of passing, but was meant to engage people in constructive commentary and to draw attention to the problem. Also, having heard the man speak, in his bleeding heart it is a cry of concern for the children.
In one way, it sounds too thin to me as it will not doubt take millions to implement the plan, fight off the lawsuits filed by the ACLU, etc. and for me, I am at all sure these kids and their parents are worth my tax dollars. You cannot legislate the interest of the parents, nor undo years of culture and parental upbringing with a fine. A fine or two probably won't change the parenting efforts of most adults. If the parents are raised a certain way, chances are they will raise their kids that way. In years past, rich, poor, middle class, and all in between made time for their kids when they wanted. I don't think the parents of this school generation of kids are any different; they will be as involved as they want to be.
And if parents want to ecourage their kids to be successful, and have the courage to insist on the type of discipline that makes success happens, they will do it on their own.
In Texas, they have tried all kinds of plans, programs, ideas, rules, etc., to make the parents more involved over the years. Politicians have thumped the podiums telling us of why we need more money and ideas thrown at our education system, and how we need to get parents more involved. "Parental involvement is the key to success" they say. But none of the ideas they have are more than moderately (at best) successful in engaging the parents into the process of education. (But God bless 'em, I would have given up long ago. Some of those guys keep pitchin' year after year.)
So I guess the real question here to me is this:
If we just save a few kids, and I mean just a few, is it worth it to the average guy on the street? Should hundreds of thousands be spent to make this a bill, then the same spent again to implement it as a law, and maybe millions in attorney's fees to defend the state against the lawsuits that will surely come?
I dunno. I don't think we will have a bill that becomes a law to test that, but I am not too sure I am interested in finding out the results for a few million bucks.
Now if someone could come up with a surefire solution that would work without doubt, I might get behind it. I am sure others would, too. But until then...
Robert
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wrote:

I read the rest of your post with great interest.
I have read all of the entries in here, also with great interest.
I saw a few fan a few flames, I saw a few with fire extiguishers, a few from the left, a few from the right.... and of course a few shit- disturbers who have nothing to add, so they decide to stir shit instead; business as usual. Yet, amongst the noise, a message seeped out that we all care for our kids. I have a niece, who taught inner-city in Witchita KS. Grade 5. My niece is tough. Smart and tough. She would slam her fist on somebody's kitchen table and demanded to know why Johnny/Suzy was so tired in the morning. She took the parents head-on. One by one, slowly things turned around...and why? Because somebody finally gave a shit. None of the parents ever had to deal with a teacher who cared. When the 5's went to grade 6, some came to talk to the new 5's and were told not to fuck with Ms P. She has told me a few stories which just blew me away. If a parent couldn't make it to a meeting, my niece would call and make an appointment to come see them...many of them suddenly found the time and way to make it to school to talk to the teacher.
Parents and teachers need to show a united front. Neither should have to wait for the other to make the first move. I have walked into my kid's teacher's coffee room un- announced. Most of the time with a bullshit excuse, but ALL pf the time to show the flag.
It must be hell to teach a kid, knowing his/her parents don't give a shit.
Deadbeat parents will always be deadbeat parents. Legislation is NOT going to solve that problem any more than jail-terms keeps crack off the street. Ain't gonna happen.
All of this shit starts at home.
r----> who has managed to stay out of this thread. (It is all done now, right?)
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