I know I said I'd do a cute shoe post, but after my experiences working with a kid this week, I just had to rant.
People spend a lot of time blaming teachers and teacher's unions over the poor state of public schools. I have seen a lot of poor teaching, but I have seen many more parents who don't value a good education. When I see people ranting over how bad their kid's teacher is, how she corrected a paper wrong, how he blamed their child wrongly for talking in class, or how stupid a school rule is, I want to ask them a few questions? Have you ever made a mistake? Does your child not lie? So you think the rule is stupid, is there not a stupid rule in your work place? I've met so many well meaning and yet inept parents who instead of working on their own kids blame others.
I've been working with yet another lazy, insecure, immature kid. Mom spends lots of time in the classroom playing at being the teacher's helper and has earned the reputation of being involved, and yet I see almost no real value placed on education in the home. I see work books that are barely touched. I see Mom handing over answers because the child is so insecure and lazy she won't do the work on her own and Mom doesn't want to be bothered to put up with the fight it's going to take to make this kid work. I watch as Mom puts this nine year old in her lap and feeds her breakfast with a spoon like an infant. Mom loves being a mommy and doesn't mind having an immature, dependent nine year old. That's great for an emotionally needy adult who clings to her children for fulfillment, but doesn't work out so great for a kid who will be functioning on the maturity level of a fifteen year old when she is an adult.
So far the only teachers Mom has been thrilled with are those who tell her what she wants to hear. Mom was particularly thrilled with the teacher who helped her place the kid in special ed. Mom is one of those parents who demand special services for their children because of poor grades and homework struggles. No matter that the child did not test into special ed, or that Mom doesn't exactly put herself out and spend her evenings at the books with her child. With a few well placed sentences and a pushy parent, yet another kid who has no discernible learning disability is in special ed.
Mom means well and thinks she is doing what is best for her kid, as do most parents. Mom didn't like the principal and when she was told her child didn't qualify for special ed, Mom was not happy. Mom knew her rights. Mom had a teacher backing her up. Mom was going to kick up a fuss. Mom got what she wanted. When Mom showed me the paperwork and I was shocked. The child did not test in a below average range except in three areas! Mind you not there were two more levels below, below average. I asked what the hell did the people on the IEP committee say and Mom had the decency to look embarrassed. It seems she was advised not to sign those papers, but to try and work with the child a while longer, tutoring programs etc. Mom, having her head in the sand on her part in this failure, resented those who were telling her what she didn't want to hear and signed.
The thing is that Mom is a typical member of the public complaining about how horrible educators and teacher's unions are, and yet I have yet to see her put any priority on her child's education. Notes have gone to school with some BS excuse why this or that wasn't done. Mom knows these excuses are BS, but gets insulted and irate when things aren't excused. Mom will spend vacations in cities full of museums and historic attractions and instead take the kids to the local amusement park. If Mom's kid is in trouble for misbehaving in school, it's the teacher's fault for not making learning fun. If the homework is getting in the way of TV time, there is too much homework. If the test isn't passed, it's because there isn't enough homework. Mom and many others think that school days need to be extended, and yet they say the kids have too much work.
Mom's kid has now started telling me, "I think my teachers taught me wrong," when she gets an answer wrong on her homework. The kid has had five years of working on place value. If all those teachers are getting it wrong, why hasn't Mom set her straight? No wonder the education system is a mess.