LAUSD Knows How To Upset Me The Night Before Thanksgiving

Dear LAUSD Teachers,

Want to know how to 1) make yourselves look incompetent and 2) upset a parent the afternoon before Thanksgiving?

Send home a progress report with a whole bunch of things checked in the column with the big frowny face. Make sure those are things you have NEVER EVER - and I do mean NEVER EVER - mentioned to that child's parents.

Make sure to not include any numerical, number based data about how that child is performing. Nope, don't include any test scores. Only include a bunch of check boxes next to subjective statements.

According to my son's third grade teacher, he is:
  • Not using class time to best advantage
  • Work improving, but more effort is required
  • Needs better organizational skills
  • Inattentive when directions are given
Oh really? And what is the evidence of this because I haven't seen any? If my son is so dang inattentive in class that it's a enough of a pattern that it needs to be put on an official progress report, why am I just being let know this on November 25th, over TWO MONTHS into the school year?

When I was a teacher, the FIRST TIME a student was inattentive when directions were given or was not using class time well, I had a conversation with his or her parent or guardian.

You hear that, LAUSD teachers? The F-I-R-S-T. That is my expectation and should be the expectation of any parent who wants the best for their child.

Better organizational skills? Better than what? What are this teacher's expectations around organization because that's some subjective b.s. if I ever heard it. Are we talking about a messy desk? A notebook?

Has this teacher taught the kids how she wants things organized because if not, kids don't just learn that through osmosis. And if she has taught it and my son is still disorganized, again, why am I just now hearing of this?

And what exactly does "Work improving, but more effort is required" mean? Improving from what? As far as I know he's never received a bad grade on anything. And if he has, WHY WAS I NOT INFORMED BEFORE NOW?

In case you're wondering what's checked off in the smiley face column:
  • Very cooperative
  • Contributes to class discussion
  • Willing to help others
Oh isn't that special. He's a nice, cooperative boy. Thank you, teacher, for telling me that. If he wasn't those things, that would be a problem so I'm glad to hear that. However, again, what's the evidence of this and what does this have to do with his measurable, data-based grades? Be specific when you answer, please.

I'm very interested in what's not checked off on the smiley face side. "High achievement on test" is not checked off-- all this despite the fact that today he got a nice laminated certificate sent home today extolling his outstanding performance on the latest reading assessment. I'm feeling an informational disconnect.

But it gets even better.

There's another "Notice of Unsatisfactory Progress" attached to the back of the smiley/frowny face progress report stating that my son has, "Not made minimal or adequate progress toward meeting grade level standards".

There are three boxes (reading, math and writing) and the "writing" box is checked.

Wow, if my son is not meeting even minimal progress toward the 3rd grade writing standards why is almost DECEMBER and I'm just now hearing about this? This does NOT make me happy.

I want to know why this form letter isn't specific. What math and reading standards has he mastered so far? What specific writing standards is he not doing well in? Not only that, I have yet to see one writing assignment come home or one letter home stating something like this:

"Dear Parent, this month we're working on writing descriptive three paragraph essays. Please see the attached example of what your child should be able to produce by the end of the month, along with the rubric on which he/she will be graded. If you have any questions, please feel free contact me any time."

Oh wait, that's from a letter I sent home to the parents of my students in Compton. And we wrote a three paragraph essay in class every single week so the kids got lots of writing practice.

I know teachers have different styles but whatever the format, if my son's teacher sent home information like that, you'd better believe the expectation for what my son should be able to produce would be crystal clear, and I'd make sure he could do it.

But what REALLY pisses me off even more is that I don't like to hear my son saying, "I just don't get it. All of my other teachers always said I'm a good student."

That's because he is a good student. Not perfect, but he's a good student. He works hard, really does his best, and when he's had a tough time with some concepts, his previous teachers let me know right away and gave me ideas on how to work with him -- and guess what, he improved! It's not rocket science.

My son's previous teachers gave me hope for the state of public education. They made me feel like I wasn't a total dummy for sending my son to our neighborhood LAUSD school. And they damn sure didn't send home a total b.s. progress report that seems to be SOLELY designed to create a paper trail of evidence that the teacher "informed the parent" about what the kid couldn't do.

That's because my son's previous teachers knew that excellent teachers don't just inform parents. Excellent teachers build a relationship and engage parents on an active, regular basis. Excellent teachers know there should be an ongoing dialogue about the child's progress, a partnership.

Excellent teachers know there should be no surprises on a student's progress report, ever.

Here's my thinking: If you take an student who's gotten good grades from PreK to 2nd grade, reads above grade level and does just fine in math, and all the sudden he's getting the frowny face in third grade, maybe it's not the child's ability but the way he's being taught.

Or rather, the way he's not being taught.

I'm going to ask this teacher to share with me her plan to improve these things. After all, she is the teacher. She is the one getting paid tens of thousands of dollars to do her freakin' job so I hope she has a plan beyond sending this crap piece of paper home.

Yes, I am really angry. I am beyond angry about how some teachers choose to send home progress reports like this without the data to back up the boxes they've checked. I'm sick of it. This is my son's life - it's not a game. I have black male children. This is NOT a game.

But if I ask my son's teacher to start sending me home a weekly progress report with my son's grades and his progress toward mastering the state standards - because that's what I care about - I'll be labeled a "difficult" parent.

Pfft... I may just have to be difficult because this "progress" report home did absolutely NOTHING to give me specific details about how my son's doing toward his academic big goals.

Oh, wait, does the teacher have a measurable, student-friendly academic big goal for the kids? Something beyond "Do good on the standardized tests?"

My other concern: I'm an extremely involved parent at my kid's school. I'm down to help out and be involved however I can. I speak up and I am not easily intimidated. So, I'd hate to think that my being vocal about things I see at the school is having an impact on the way my son is being treated in class or how his work is being graded.

If that's NOT the case and my son's really doing so poorly, I shouldn't just be finding this out.

Please, LAUSD teachers, recognize that if you really want to improve student achievement, you're going to have to change the way you do business. You may not feel like informing parents of their child's progress on a regular basis, but incompetence like the progress report I got today isn't going to cut it.

I know I'm not the first parent to be less than pleased about this kind of progress report and unfortunately, I won't be the last. If LAUSD wants to know why parents are FLEEING to charter schools, magnet schools or scrounging to put their kids in private schools, stuff like this is why.

You don't want to improve? Watch your job disappear as enrollment sinks because your former students are going to school somewhere else.


A Very Displeased LAUSD Parent


Jameil said…
I'd be difficult all up and down those halls! What a horrible way to find out your child (may) need(s) help in school. Ummm... heads up maybe?
Liz said…
This totally sucks and is unacceptable! My lil brother is in LAUSD and I am so frustrated by how much work HE has to do on his own just to be up to par. It's very disappointing the horror stories he tells me about his classes, teachers, and then just the stuff I observe on my own. This city has to do better!
Anonymous said…
I think you're making a hasty generalization about LAUSD based on your one experience. If you go into attack mode on your son's teacher, she probably will not respond well. I agree, it is not good that you are just now hearing about your son's supposed issues, but at the same time, you still have 7 months or left in the school year. Hearing about your son's progress at a 2 month mark is acceptable. I do admire that you are a committed parent and that you help your child meet/exceed the standards. I wish all parents were like you, but please, give the teacher a break. Is she a new teacher? She most likely is doing her best, working 10-12 hour days, and is learning too. With you as a parent, your son will do well in life, with or without LAUSD. Somehow you have to explain to your son that his report card does not determine his self worth. But as a parent, you should look at the teacher's feedback without being so defensive. Best, a former, third grade, LAUSD teacher
Remnants of U said…
I've been there. It is frustrating to find out in a progress report that there are issues. Especially when you are active & make it known that you are a concerned parent.

And the subjective points oooh! Hopefully, the teacher will you & your son clear info on what the problems are & if there are any more in the future she'll contact you sooner.

Oh and this wasn't in LA it was in ATL.
Liz Dwyer said…
That's the thing, if my child needs help with anything, just tell me at any time. I'm the kind of parent that wants to know RIGHT away instead of waiting a few weeks for a problem to worsen. And to get that report with NO DATA EVIDENCE OR PRIOR NOTIFICATION... I am PISSED.

This city has to do a LOT better. There are hundreds of thousands of students that can't sue for malpractice, but they should be able to.

Let me ask you this: How would you like it if you got a review from your boss and there was some negative information on there- stuff your boss had never discussed with you? Wouldn't you be disturbed by that?

I'm not making a hasty generalization about this district. I'm talking about LAUSD, the district with hundreds of low-performing schools and abysmal graduation rates.

I've worked with almost 100 schools in LAUSD, supervised hundreds of teachers, been in countless classrooms and had conversations with dozens and dozens of principals. Because of that, one thing I do know for sure is what kinds of practices get student achievement results.

Sending home this sort of progress report is not one of those things.

I think it's sad that a parent not being pleased that they got a report about their child's supposed academic progress that 1) contains no data driven evidence and 2) is information that's never been heard before is seen as going into attack mode.

This is MY child. He is my MAIN concern, not the feelings of the teacher. Trust me, she'll be fine at the end of the school year - will still have a job and a house. But will my son have mastered everything he's supposed to for 3rd grade? Will the other kids in the classroom?

If he's having a hard time with something, tell me. I'm all ears. But don't wait two months and then send it home with no data to back up your statements.

And no, this is NOT a new teacher at all. And even if it was, SO WHAT? Our children are not experiments.

Trust me, I know how hard it is to teach. I've been there. I've gotten to school at 6:45 in the morning and left at 4:30 -- taking work home with me and going to class, and if I still had time as a 1st year teacher to call parents or send a note home to let them know I wanted to talk to them about whatever, this VETERAN teacher can do the same.

Bottom line, I don't think getting a report at the two month mark is acceptable, especially one with brand new information and lacking in data. Maybe schools in LAUSD wouldn't be scraping the bottom of the academic barrel if they raised their standards on what's acceptable and what's not.
Liz Dwyer said…
It's very frustrating because I'm not hard to get in touch with or talk to about any issues he might be having in school. I want to know how he's doing and gave the teacher ALL my contact info and told her if anything comes up, please contact me asap. It shouldn't be so hard.

I'm real tired of the subjectivity on forms like that. Give me hard data - in the form of numbers and specifics.
nick said…
That crude check list is just insulting and gormless. As you say, how about some specifics and how about telling you straightaway so you can put things right (if they're really wrong in the first place). My mother was a teacher and I'm sure she wouldn't have been that lazy and vague, she would have had a proper talk with the parents about her concerns.
Anonymous said…
Brush up on your own teaching skills at home, smile nicely at those who are in direct power over your child's fate (while handling your business as an unsatisfied consumer), and QUICKLY get clarity on the need to pull your baby from this school (district?). I still recall the ugliness that teachers got away with when my and other parents weren't present and I'm in my 40s, loved school, and am successful! Private will be hard enough; public is virtually suicidal for Black boys. (And mind you: I have very little love for Black men. STILL. Children shouldn't suffer at the hands of racists.) This is when your son is IMPRESSIONABLE and most available for foundational learning. Why leave it to a hack and, likely, a low-expectations-having hack?
Profesora said…
So because of this one teacher, all 42,000 LAUSD teachers are incompetent?

The report card you show is not the official LAUSD report card. Are you in some type of charter school that allows deviation from the standard form that DOES include test data such as that from the district assessments?

What role does the increase in class size that the district approved last year play in the decrease in personal attention each teacher can give to his/her students? In other words, is the class 20:1, 24:1, or 29:1?

I'm not surprised to hear of a different academic performance going from K.1. and 2 to grade 3. This is around the time students transition from learning to read to reading to learn. It is a different ballgame. But it seems you already believe it is the teacher, not the student.

By now, the school would have held Back to School night, or some other type of school meeting. Did you attend? Did YOU reach out to make contact with the teacher in a proactive manner after giving her your contact info? Did you notice any warning signs regarding the amount of homework assigned vs. the amount of homework done at home? The school did contact you. Maybe not as soon as you would have liked, but at the progress report mark where grades can still be improved. The education of your child is a two way street and I would turn it around and ask how often you have contacted your child's teacher, since as you state, it is your child, and he/she is most important to you.

I suggest you use your obvious passion for education in a constructive manner, and approach your child's teacher as a partner, not as a former teacher/substitute who REALLY knows how teaching should be done. That comes off as a bit pretentious and you could be perceived as overbearing. You have 7 months to work with that teacher and help your child. In my experience, it is sometimes the toughest teachers that parents end up appreciating the most.
Jen said…
I can't believe that was sent out as a progress report! Did you already have parent-teacher conferences? Did she give you any hint of this? It sounds like she just doesn't like your son (which also indicates her lack of judgment).


I call the parents of my HIGH SCHOOL students as soon as I think one of them is having a problem. I sure as heck used to call my third grade parents after the second or third week of school just to check in any way.
Liz Dwyer said…
I know, I know. When I saw that list of things that got checked off, I thought to myself, wow, sounds like she's trying to say my baby is ADD - oh next thing you know, he'll need to be in special education. That's how public education rolls with black boys, even if some folks don't want to admit it. If my sons don't get into a magnet, I think next year has to be charter. No way we can afford private, sadly enough.

But why very little love for black men?

Nope, never said all 42K LAUSD teachers are incompetent. I said "make yourselves look incompetent". Big difference. However, I do think there is a LOT of incompetence in this district, otherwise we'd have a LOT more students excelling academically than we do.

Obviously this isn't the official LAUSD report card, but they still want my signature acknowledging I've received this, which implies a certain level of officialness - and official or not, this is a progress report being sent home about my child with zero data, zero hard facts, zero evidence.

I know all about reading transitions, and also know that my kid made that transition last year in second grade. His second grade teacher was amazing so he reads well above grade level now. He read 200 page abridged version of Dracula before Halloween. He goes through a book every day and a half. Besides, reading is not the issue, writing is, and everybody knows LAUSD generally does a craptastic job of teaching writing.

I'm not saying my son may not have difficulties with certain academic concepts. I expect him to - he's not perfect - but if the teacher can't communicate those to me or any other parent in a prompt, professional and data-centered manner, YES, the problem is the teacher.

Oh yes, there was back-to-school night. Both myself and my husband attended. I've reached out, sent her notes, even given her info on grants she could write for the classroom. But what's the point of blaming me because the teacher didn't communicate with me or my husband? It's not like we're absentee parents or completely uninvolved with the school. You name a school council or PTA, I'm there. I pick my kid up after school every day. It's not hard to pull me aside and show me my son's writing samples or say that he's not been paying attention in class. It's not hard to send home a note saying that he's not following directions. That has yet to happen. But that's my fault? Really?

I'm not sure where you get the idea that I was a substitute. No, I wasn't. I worked in education in low-income areas for around 14 years - but I'm not supposed to use the expertise I developed to determine whether my son is getting the education he deserves? That makes no sense to me.

Maybe if more teachers would actually do their jobs and do them well instead of complaining over what they consider to be "overbearing" parents (code word for involved and expecting you to do the job you're supposed to do), we wouldn't have some of the issues we do in public schools.

I have a feeling you and I probably wouldn't agree on a lot of education theory because I believe that most of the problems in public education today lie with teachers and their practice, and with administrators and ineffective leadership. Not assessing student progress and tracking data in a meaningful way is a huge problem. Not communicating regularly with families is a huge problem.

Let me ask you this: Do you send your kids to public school? Would you be happy if this is the first contact your child's teacher has had with you about his academic progress?
April said…
Frankly, I'm more discouraged by the comments than I am by your post. Whenever a parent speaks out against how something is being done in their own child's classroom, this is the response.
This is what happens: the blame game, the rush to defense, the labeling of parents being overinvolved or not involved enough...and WE as parents are not supposed to take it personally. Guess what? This IS personal for us.
I'm sure you'll handle this with grace and intelligence, as I KNOW you.
But feel free to rant, honey! There are a lot of parents (like me) who get it.
Shiona said…
Yeah I'm a bit surprised at the reaction as well. I don't even have a child in school. Call me whatever you want but I would be MAD if this was the first time I'd heard anything. Now if you contact the teacher every week you'll look bad and be overbearing? A small price to pay for my child to get the help he needs.
Bronwyn said…
This is not how good teachers communicate. A checklist never EVER does a child's behavior (good or bad) justice. They are individuals.

also - and I'm a White teacher - Black boys are the first to be blamed for being disruptive. If two kids are doing the same thing, the black boy will get in trouble first. No matter if it's public or private school.
Liz Dwyer said…
I just saw your comment - sorry to not respond earlier! Didn't get any hint of this at all. We haven't yet had parent-teacher conferences but I'm going to request to meet with her this coming week. It's so commendable that you call high school parents because I know how many students you must have!

It makes me feel like parents are supposed to be involved in their child's education in name only - show up to help with the Halloween carnival but don't ask questions about the academics. Sigh. You're right, it is this weird cycle and yes, it is definitely personal for us. I know there are so many good teachers out there that wouldn't send home a note like this but I wish there were more. I'm rooting for teachers, I really am. I'm such an advocate for better pay for teachers, smaller class sizes, more ongoing training and a better evaluation process - and I've made a conscious choice to support this district. But the bottom line is I'm rooting for my kid, and for all the kids in the school. They have to come first.

A very small price to pay. This is my son's life, not a TV show. I'll just have to look overbearing and bad. That's fine. I'm sure my mom probably looked like "that parent" but it was necessary sometimes.

Thank you for making me feel like I'm not totally crazy.

When I supervised teachers I saw what you're talking about with black boys happen quite frequently. It was always a tough conversation when I'd point out that the same behaviors were happening but only the black students were getting disciplined.
Bronwyn said…
Glad to help! You're not at all crazy. It was something I had to learn - as a white person - and didn't believe at first, but black boys definitely get the short end of the stick.

If your kid's teacher needs any pointers, I have lots of ideas. :) I know how to be a good teacher, but I'm taking a break because the administration kind of did me in. Sure do miss the kids though.
Profesora said…
Los Angelista,

This post was the first I read from your blog. So I don't know your background like some of the other readers who have posted comments here. Your approach, your phrasing however is something that I am familiar with as one who keeps up to date with events having to do with education and LAUSD.

When you say "make yourselves look incompetent" in referring to LAUSD teachers you are splitting hairs. I am an LAUSD teacher. You must be referring to me, and I won't accept your generalization nor will most teachers. Your blog is public, so you must expect reactions to your writing.

No one is blaming you, the parent, for the state of your child's education. It sounds a little "chip on your shoulder-ish" when you reacted to my questions. I simply said approaching the teacher as a *partner*, not a foe, would be a faster way to get the results you desire. However, your original post has all indications that you have made up your mind that the teacher/public schools bear 100% of the responsibility of your child's performance.

By "reaching out to the teacher" I meant asking questions specifically about your child's performance, not recommending grant opportunities or other such things. I mean, that's nice and all, but if you haven't heard anything about test scores, assessment data, writing evaluations by the end of November, its a sign to make contact, no?

And to close, you are right. We would disagree on the state of public ed. It's much easier to blame the teachers who have no control over curriculum, class size, funding fluctuations from year to year, for the struggles we face in the classroom today, than say politicians, philanthropists, and the media who have already abandoned public ed. Are there bad teachers? Yes. Are most bad? No. And most could use support, real support, from parents.

Honestly, I've reached the point where I'd say to those who make comments like "If LAUSD wants to know why parents are FLEEING to charter schools, magnet schools or scrounging to put their kids in private schools, stuff like this is why" to feel free to explore other pastures. May they get all the mind-numbing, teaching to the test, no-frills curriculum that their hearts desire.
Liz Dwyer said…
I miss being in the classroom as well. What do you think made you finally see the difference in the way black boys are treated in schools? So many people insist there is no difference.

Your last paragraph - I'm not sure if you were trying to be sarcastic or something else, but if schools don't improve, I believe families should have other options - and that means the public schools go under since enrollment declines. I don't want that to happen but I'm a big believer in school choice. I don't think children should be condemned to attend a failing school just because that's the one in their neighborhood - I think people against school choice don't have places like Markham or Gompers Middle School as their neighborhood school.

You can't deny that district officials keep moaning about declining enrollment but maybe if the neighborhood public school options weren't so dismal, no one would feel the need to either move out of LA or move their children to another non LAUSD site.

I don't think anybody's children deserve mind numbing teaching to the test. However, in plenty of LAUSD schools that's ALL that's happening since teachers don't have the time, training or resources to do much else. I don't need to put my kids in a charter for that. - BTW, the idea that that's all charters do these days is a little outdated, but since the SAT is still required for admission to Harvard, I don't mind knowing my child can score in the top percentile on a standardized test.

Your comments make me think about how it would serve all teachers well if they could just be honest and admit that this district is failing the majority of this city's children and parents don't have to be happy about that.

I'm sure you're well aware that plenty of teachers are just as capable of coming off as incompetent (or actually being incompetent) as anybody from any other profession.

Sure, many teachers in LAUSD expect excellence from their students and so they operate in an effective manner as far as classroom instruction, parent involvement, etc., but many don't.

I don't know how long you've worked in this district or in which section of the city but if you've been around the block you know there are teachers whose performance runs from horrible to just so-so. And there are plenty of teachers in this district making a million excuses for why their students aren't achieving.

Most of the time the excuse has something to do with the student's home life, language, neighborhood, or the previous year's teacher not doing his/her job.

Maybe I just don't buy certain perspectives because I know the things teachers say about parents when they're not around, and I know that behind closed doors teachers talk plenty of smack about their colleagues that aren't doing their jobs.

It's an easy way out to say a parent's not being a partner to the teacher, isn't involved in the right way, or should've done a million things differently to reach out to a teacher -- even when the teacher's supposed to be the professional in the situation. I guess parents in this district should be trying harder to meet the teacher's needs.

But again, do you have children? Do you send your kids to public school? If you do, is that school either in PI status or in danger of it? And would you be happy if this was the first contact your child's teacher has had with you about his academic progress?
Anonymous said…
Prefesora is missing the point and with no disrespect meant they are not worth arguing with, your opinion is your opinion, your beliefs, your perspective, they will never understand or have empathy with. We all know that the status quo has to be maintained, and as such, educaton, which is the key to critical consiousness, cannot be meeted out to the masses equally. They dont want equality or fairness they want power and control, they dont give a flying fu@# about the "have nots" who need the education to become the "haves."
This world is seriously messed up and what you said Liz just further illuminates the situation. When you speak with such authority and clarity people can become offended, especially when you speak with emotion, most of them have an emotional attachment and little or no emotional intelligence, thats how they are programmed. Profesora, although your reaction is very well put, it is essentially piss weak.
Liz as we black peeps in the UK say, Big up yourself and dont let know one bring you down, respect and empathy .
Bronwyn said…
It's a good question on how I finally saw the difference, because I think like many white people with good intentions I wanted to believe we were past that. I think it was just from watching. The American school system rewards sitting still quietly, which is not natural for many children. In addition, I saw how differently teachers (white and black) spoke to black kids, especially boys. Much more harshly and with less patience.

I also started listening to families. I was totally out of my element (I figured out quickly) and tried to get a feel for how things were different in a primarily black community. The parents (mostly, but not all, mothers) told me about their fears and explained to me how hard it was to get notes with words like "defiance" and "acting out" because that's all they ever heard and there was rarely an explanation behind it. They also pointed out that if anything like that (or "anger problem") was on a report card, their next year's teacher would make assumptions that may not be fair.

Now, nothing bothers me more than white teachers saying things about there being no racism or preconceived ideas - it's just not true! And wishing it was doesn't make it so.

I'm looking for a guest blogger to give the perspective of a parent of Black children in public schools - if anyone is interested, please email me at bronwyn dot ann at gmail dot com or leave a comment on my blog. thanks!
Liz Dwyer said…
I woke up this morning thinking many of the same things you wrote. Thinking about the status quo and how education in our capitalistic society is set up based on competition - so someone has to be the winner, someone has to be the loser. I want all children to "win" and I believe that can happen if want it to. The problem is that so many people still don't want that equal chance for all.

Being able to reflect and then change your practice/attitudes like you did is to be commended. Too often we each just dig our heels in and it's a shame that we don't reflect on our practice/prejudices more often.
BlackLiterature said…
I am absolutely apalled at some of the comments from educators on this blog. Why would first time commentors be so rude and abrasive?

If some of you folks had my child in the classroom, I'd look at moving them immediately.

My impression is that concerned Black parents are seen as obstacles/bothersome. This post and the responses are confirming it.

Profesora said…
Los Angelista,

I wish you the best of luck with your child's education. I still don't know why my suggestion that you work with the teacher as a partner, not a foe, is considered to be anti-parent and "piss poor" by another reader. It really seems like anyone that doesn't agree with you is lambasted (contrary to lover/fighter line) but I stand firm in this suggestion.

This whole discourse began when you provocatively lumped all 42,000 LAUSD teachers in the same category of incompetence as that which you have assigned to your child's teacher. I know you must use this language to attract readers, but teachers are tired of being trashed, and you will be hearing back from some of us.

I do not "defend" (what a combative word) the teacher. I simply asked questions and made suggestions for looking at the situation from a different point of view. If this were my first note home from teacher, I'd be confused, not angry. I would not be contemplating an escalation of tactics that would be guaranteed to produce a strained relationship between parent and teacher. I'd give the teacher the benefit of the doubt.

That being said, I wonder if every time first contact is made with parents it must be positive? Perhaps in this day and age of added duties, added students, the public can expect more no-nonsense communiques with teachers? Just wondering.

And since there is speculation as to this being about power and control on the part of teachers, or about teachers who are anti-parent(?!) I will say this: I am a woman of color, teaching in South Central by choice, with a child of color who has attended both public and private schools. How that is relevant I don't know.

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