Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the dumbest parent of all?

http://www.mercurynews.com/top-stories/ci_17943011?nclick_check=1    Opinion: Gen X ‘snowplow’ parents need to be partners in children’s education  26 April 2011

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/jtaylor/index   How To Raise A Spoiled Brat  21 February 2011

I believe the two pieces above are  really what Natalie Munroe meant to say, however, since she is ‘merely’ a teacher, parents did not want to hear it.  Read what this psychologist (he put his blog up after I wrote mine) and teacher ( teacher wrote after my blog went up) have to say before reading my blog  and you will get a better perspective on where I wanted to take you in my blog below.


I had to laugh out loud upon reading this article and recalling a moment earlier today.  Along with a colleague, we went to administer the NAEP test to Grade 8 students at a school today.  After administering the test we fill out a debriefing form and one of the questions is about ‘unusual circumstances’. Our answer today would have been, ‘ students followed directions.’  We did not write this as we would have lost our jobs….needless to say, it was the truth – it was incredibly unusual.

Many of you may be guessing the location of the school, whether it was public or private, etc.  All the variables you are thinking about are irrelevant – what is relevant is that for whatever reason, this group of kids appears to have parents who are involved, engaged and on top of their children and their behavior.  The students at this school were polite, respectful and courteous…….amazingly unlike anything I have witnessed at a school, in well forever.  Yes, I have run across polite students and nice students, but they were individual students and their classmates were hacks when it came to social graces.  This school seemed to have an abundance of nice, polite, thoughtful students.

The contrast of today is not to be underestimated as something somewhat opposite occurred last week occurred.  At a school with Grade 8 students being tested, the principal thanked me for keeping a record of the students who were (1) disruptive (2) rude/impolite during testing.   I found out that these same students apparently have been called on their behavior by other teachers and the principal yet the parents do nothing – I just happened to be an outsider and caught the problems without knowing who/what was in the background.  Imagine a principal requiring an outside source to validate teacher and principal observations to parents…….It tells me a great deal about parents and their perceptions on parenting.

Clearly these two sets of students could not have been more strikingly different in behavior, yet they were the same grade, ethnic/racial composition, ratio of male and female and, I am guessing but not positive, the same or reasonably similar socio-economic status. 

Having seen this repititious pattern over and over in a variety of scenarios (as a teacher, out in public, as a tutor, visiting a school on behalf of work I do relating to IEP’s/504’s), it leads me to believe parents are actually afraid of looking at themselves in the mirror and seeking out the help they need to be better parents.   I can honestly say it does not seem to have so much to do with socioeconomic status as I have seen wealthy students behave imprudently as often, if not more so than lower socioeconomic students.  Money and location seem to create a social acceptance of awful behavior and people are better able to look away.

When Natalie Munroe put it down in writing, I am guessing it was more than venting frustration.  While I do agree the use of language would have been better selected from a thesaurus, the sentiment is the same….the verbiage is just different than what I explained above.  No amount of correct grammar and better selection of words changes the facts – students are lazy and dispassionate and unaccountable.

“She could have been any person, any teacher in America writing about their lives,” he said, pointing out that Munroe blogged about 85 times and that only about 15 to 20 of the posts involved her being a teacher. “It’s honest and raw and a little edgy depending on your taste. … She has a deep frustration for the educational system in America.” – Steven Rovner

In light of other events of the day (a student who wanted to kill a teacher for embarrassing him), I find Ms. Munroe to be benign and pointing out the obvious.  The fact Ms. Munroe has made people think and react is commendable for the part of making change occur is when people admit there is a problem – and there is one.  All Ms. Munroe did was take the ‘tales out of school’ and make them public.  Of course parents are feeling a bit embarrassed since they do have to look themselves in the mirror (and so do administrators who support parents being lazy) and so their first call outwards is the language used and forget about freedom of speech (which, by the way, has to work for all of us, not just the people who agree with your opinion).  When you get past the language/freedom of speech and look at the issue at hand, no synonyms actually have the power to change the meaning of the situation. 

I hope many parents read Ms. Munroe’s blog, and mine and they have rabid reparte’ about all of it.   Stirring the pot is good when you want the cream to rise and  cruddy bits to sink.

Oh, and this just in:   http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/03/02/state/n052445S40.DTL&tsp=1    Really makes you wonder who is running the asylum.