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Am I making a bigger deal then I need to?

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 
DD's school started 2 weeks ago. Yesterday her school sent hom a "Compact" that says "as a staff we pledge to" and "As a parent/guardian we pledge to" and "As a student I will" and lists things and has places for each of us to sign.

I don't want to sign it. I don't think my daughter should have to sign it. I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe it's because I don't think the school has any right to tell me what I "will" do every night. Maybe I don't think my 7 year old should sign something saying how she will behave. One part even says "I will be a good citizen by doing what is right, not because I'm being watched by others, but because it is the right thing to do". ?????

So I told her to just tell the teacher that I don't want to sign it, and I probably should have just written a note saying we aren't going to sign it. but she came home almost in tears saying she was going to get in trouble if she didn't sign it.

Should I just attach a simple note saying I don't want to sign it and I don't want DD to sign it and leave it at that? Or should I just sign the stupid thing. I don't want to become the "problem parent who used to homeschool her kids".
post #2 of 67
If you feel like making a stand by not signing it and have the energy to expend doing so, then that's your right as an American. I would deal directly with the school and leave my child out of it, though. Personally, I'd just sign the stupid thing because it's meaningless anyway.
post #3 of 67
It would depend on exactly what it said.

In the kids' agendas there is a section for the parents & kid to sign saying:

Quote:
We acknowledge receiving, reading & agree to follow the rules & procedures outlined in the QEE Handbook. We understand the teacher, admini, & support staff will treat our child with respect & dignity and we in turn will do the same.
I have no problems signing it as the majority of it deals with start/end times, recesses, early dismissal, dress code, fresh air policy etc. Very little has to do with behaviour. They want the kids to sign it(after reading or being read it) so that the policies can be pointed out IF an issue ever comes about. The school follows a Positive Behaviour Plan. the majority of students never have to have it brought out. The first thing they do is remind the kids of the 4 keys the school follows(respect, safety, honesty, responsibility) & whether their behaviour follows that. If not the child is asked to come up with a solution & they do with no problems. It is only after repeated offenses(say running in the halls after being reminded not to) is the child talked to about it.
post #4 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmandasMom View Post
Should I just attach a simple note saying I don't want to sign it and I don't want DD to sign it and leave it at that? Or should I just sign the stupid thing. I don't want to become the "problem parent who used to homeschool her kids".
Maybe you should talk to the teacher about it, the purpose of the compact and why the wording bothers you.
post #5 of 67
Do you have an actual problem with what they are asking? In the past I have crossed out parts, or changed them to be what I could agree with and it's never been a problem. I have also asked for clarification of parts of the rules we are agreeing to.

I would have the conversation myself, though, because most 7 year olds would not be ready to have that conversation. Additionally, if it is a homework assignment, you definately need to comunicate that you are not allowing her to do the work, not that she is simply not doing it.

That said, last year when DD was 7 her teachers homework policy was that parents signed off on their kids homework. DD found that "demeaning" and said if she was supposed to be responsible we should not be signing her homework. We made and appointment with the teacherm DP & I went for moral support but DD explained her issue and the teacher said that was fine with her if we didn't sign as long as DD was taking responsibility. If there were signs she could NOT handle that responsibility the issue would have been revisited, but there were no problems (as expected).
post #6 of 67
Well...I think you put your dd in a HORRIBLE position. Not to beat you up, but yes, you really SHOULD have handled this yourself, either by writing a note or talking to the teacher directly. Instead, you sent a child in to tell a teacher "My mom didn't want to do this" which must have put her in a REALLY hard place. Think about how hard it is for us as adults to "buck the system" and what it must have felt like for your daughter.
The teacher probably DID tell her she would be in trouble and that it was "required" she bring it back. For all the teacher knew, perhaps dd didn't even bring it home, and was just lying about you not wanting to sign it, etc. Without something from you, how was the teacher to know what was going on? I obviously can't know how the teacher handled it, but it seems likely not very well. Your dd is within a system where standing up to "authority" is not received well, and in this case, it sounds like it wasn't even your dd who felt strongly about making this stand, etc, but YOU, so she is probably confused on a number of levels. did you even sit down with her and discuss it, and explain to her why you felt like you did not want to sign it, and why you felt like she should not sign it? Did you talk about how she felt about signing/not signing it?

I'm sorry if this seems harsh, but I used to be that kid, and I remember how embarassed, humiliated, scared, etc I felt when my parents would arbitrarily (at least to me, since they never really shared their reasoning with me) decide they didn't like how the school was doing something, and order me to do something I didn't understand which made me different from the others, and I often took the brunt of the teacher's unhappiness, the sting of being different, the fear of having to dissent - even though I was a shy, nervous child who could barely talk to the teachers, I had to tell them I didn't have some paper, or assignment, or whatever, because my parents refused to do it/let me do it..etc....it really REALLY sucked.

If you truly feel you don't want to sign the paper, then GREAT. Don't sign it. Discuss it with your childs teacher/principal about WHY you don't want to sign it and why you don't want dd to sign it, and they might get mad at you, but at least dd doesn't have to be the one taking the heat. Perhaps, like a pp suggested, you could work something out, discuss why you dislike the compact, and maybe cross out some of the parts you find offensive/objectionable, and rewrite some parts to better reflect your beliefs.
post #7 of 67
Thread Starter 
Thank you for most of your replies. I realized I shouldn't have told DD to tell her teacher I didn't want to sign it. I realized it as soon as she got on the bus. So there's no need to cut me in half about it.

The paper isn't about school policy, it has nothing to do with dress code and behavior codes and all that. (already signed all that stuff! this isn't even an official public school wide system thing, its just her school and the 2nd graders

The parents part says:

As a parent/guardian I will: read to my child every day, show respect with my words and actions for my child, provide a place for homework and check to see that all work is completed, ask my child about schoolwork every day, see that my child attends school on time, communicate and work with the school to encourage my childs learning and positive behavior.

the childs pare says: I will be responsible for my actions and behavior each day, I will listen, do my work, and learn. I will respect the feeling, property and rights of others. I will be a good citizen by doing what is right, not because I am being watched by others, but because it is the right thing to do.


I don't know why I don't like it. Maybe because it sounds like they are telling me and DD how we are to think, and what we are to do. Maybe because I don't like my daughter signing something without thinking about what she is signing just so she 'won't get in trouble'. What is a 'good citizen' anyway? Maybe because I was raised in the late 60s and early 70s by hippie parents who 'questioned authority'. Maybe it's because I wish I could still homeschool her and hate the sheeple attitude of public school. Maybe I just have PMS. I dno't know! I just know I don't like the paper.

So my husband signed it. and DD said she didn't care what it said, she just signed it so she wouldn't get in trouble. *sigh*
post #8 of 67
I do understand your feelings on it. I HS'ed my dd for 2 years and put her back into PS and I think I resented being the only one who had say about her education.
I honestly would have signed it with the thinking, that those are things we already do at home and put into practice. That "good citizen" wording is very vague so you can interpet anyway you want.That is a plus on your side.
I would just try and see the positive side of the thing. It is just one thing that the school and I agree on, becuase like I said we already put into practice those things even before the school told me. So we are all at least on the same page about that.
post #9 of 67
I was reluctant when I signed ds's school compact because it said I would always support homework, which I many not. I decided that it wasn't exactly enforceable anyway.
post #10 of 67
I'm not sure why the school is trying to regulate your conduct outside of the classroom and in ways not related to homework (requiring you to read to your child every day, e.g.), but I'd probably sign it anyway because it's meaningless and I wouldn't want to cause trouble for my child in school.
post #11 of 67
As the wife of a teacher who desperately wishes that parents would be more involved with the school and their child's education I just thought I'd give a different perspective. I don't think the school is trying to regulate a parent's behaviour as much as pointing out that parents are as equally responsible if not more responsible for their child's success in school. I'm assuming you are involved in your child's education and probably don't see anything in the compact that you don't or won't already do, same with what you expect from your child and maybe that's why you resent having someone tell you this. I know I feel less like doing something when someone tells me to do it.

However, there could be a lot of parents in your district that see school as merely a babysitter until their child can finally go out and get a job. Or see education as something you buy, a commodity rather than a process for a child and something you develop. My dh has seen both kinds of parents. It didn't matter that their child was failing general music b/c they didn't need it to get into college. Or it didn't matter that their child was failing general music b/c it was more important that they skip school and go to their job and earn some money.

Try to look at the compact as just an affirmation of what you're already doing. It's not really for parents like you. It's for the parents who don't realize that education is a team effort.
post #12 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmandasMom View Post
The parents part says:

As a parent/guardian I will: read to my child every day, show respect with my words and actions for my child, provide a place for homework and check to see that all work is completed, ask my child about schoolwork every day, see that my child attends school on time, communicate and work with the school to encourage my childs learning and positive behavior.

the childs pare says: I will be responsible for my actions and behavior each day, I will listen, do my work, and learn. I will respect the feeling, property and rights of others. I will be a good citizen by doing what is right, not because I am being watched by others, but because it is the right thing to do.


I don't know why I don't like it. Maybe because it sounds like they are telling me and DD how we are to think, and what we are to do. Maybe because I don't like my daughter signing something without thinking about what she is signing just so she 'won't get in trouble'. What is a 'good citizen' anyway? Maybe because I was raised in the late 60s and early 70s by hippie parents who 'questioned authority'. Maybe it's because I wish I could still homeschool her and hate the sheeple attitude of public school. Maybe I just have PMS. I dno't know! I just know I don't like the paper.

So my husband signed it. and DD said she didn't care what it said, she just signed it so she wouldn't get in trouble. *sigh*

I'm not sure why you didn't like it. It almost sounds like you were just trying to prove a point and be defiant. I think what they wrote is good and very reasonable. If your dd didn't know what she was signing and what it means to be a good citizen, then this was your opportunity to discuss it with her. Instead, she signed it to not get in trouble. You really did put her in the middle and not just by having her tell the teacher.

I think what they wrote are things that ALL parents should be doing anyway. I do all of those things. I would be thrilled if my son's school sent something home like that. I would hope that it would inspire other parents to help their children be successful in school as well. Their paragraph was simply what a parent can do to support their child. Sadly, many parents don't do half of those things.

As far as what your dd had to sign, there is is nothing wrong with that either. My son's school does have a student pledge that the students recite daily. It's just a few short statements about doing their best and not disturbing others who are doing their work.

One of my parenting techiniques is to talk with my children before issues arise, like before school starts every year. We talk about homework, the morning routine and things like that. We put what we talk about in writing (i.e. - the list of tasks to do in the morning to get ready for school). I think putting expectations in writing is very effective and helpful. It is recommended in How to Talk so Kids will Listen. So, I fully understand why your school sent those letters home and even applaud it.
post #13 of 67
I do not like the parent part. I do not like signing stuff that is common sense. I think it would have made more sense, and been less intrusive, to say:

"Hints for helping your child succeed at school:
-read daily
-provide homework space
-ask about school and schoolwork daily, etc"

Even though DH signed it, I might still write a little note that I found being asked to sign something that told me how I will behave at home intrusive.

Ok. Naughty kathy had an idea (just for laughs - this is a joke everybody)

why don't you send in a compact saying you expect teachers to :
" listen to children. Ask questions. Be respectful. Provide variety challenge and fun in assignment, et cetera"

Bet they do not sign it (and I bet they get peeved that you even dared to question their behaviour at school) while it is Ok for them to do it to you....

kathy
post #14 of 67
Thread Starter 
This just maybe part of a whole bigger issue with me that I need to work out. That's why I started this thread, so I could dig deeper into myself to find out why I dislike the school (or anyone) telling me what I should do for my daughter.

I put her into public school in the middle of 1st grade last year for various reasons. I put up with corporate "sponsorship" and advertising. I've put up with every single week another request sent home for money. They even took DD's artwork tried to sell it to me in the form of magnets and flags. And don't get me started on homework.

Now this year I have to deal with letter grades. I've never seen her so deflated as she was when she brought home an F because she missed 2 periods an 2 capitol letters. I just wanted to pull her out of school right then and there.

But she does not know any of this! (Except for me bitching about them trying to sell me her artwork last year).

She doesnt' see the things I do, and she loves school, and it is one of the best elementary schools in Nashville. And the teachers are great and they are involved. They've never given me a problem about no vaxing. (the lunch lady used to tell me every time she saw me how "well adjusted to public school" dd is). We go to all of her school functions, go to parent-teacher conferences and all that.

so it's ME with the problems.
post #15 of 67
"so it's ME with the problems."

Me too. (((HUGS))).

The big question is how do we model our stance where appropriate (and let our kids know we prefer it if they do not turn into sheeplets) without ruining their school experience, or putting our issues on them. It is very hard, and I struggle. You are not alone (even though all the other mother sign things, and you probably feel like the "different" trouble making one - OK, I probalby transposed my own experience on that last sentence: )

kathy
post #16 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
"

The big question is how do we model our stance where appropriate (and let our kids know we prefer it if they do not turn into sheeplets) without ruining their school experience, or putting our issues on them.
*jumps up and down*

that's it exactly! that's it thats it!!! I love how these conversations start one way and turn into ways to improve ourselves.
post #17 of 67
Did the staff sign their part? Thinking about Kathy's comment, I think you can help make it less of sheeplet experience and a learning experience for your dd by sitting down with her and her teacher and all three of you go over your responsibilities. Make it empowering for all three of you that you are willingly entering into this rather than feeling like this is something forced upon you. Your dd would hopefully come away feeling like she knows what she needs to do to make her experience good and that she has 2 groups that are behind her to support her and help her. You come away reaffirming something you already believe in and knowing this is a team effort not one that's dictated to you. Why not take it and actually make it mean something for all of you rather than feel dictated to?
post #18 of 67
Quote:
The parents part says:

As a parent/guardian I will: read to my child every day, show respect with my words and actions for my child, provide a place for homework and check to see that all work is completed, ask my child about schoolwork every day, see that my child attends school on time, communicate and work with the school to encourage my childs learning and positive behavior.

the childs pare says: I will be responsible for my actions and behavior each day, I will listen, do my work, and learn. I will respect the feeling, property and rights of others. I will be a good citizen by doing what is right, not because I am being watched by others, but because it is the right thing to do.
If it was me, I'd cross off certain things & send it back like this.

Quote:
The parents part says:

As a parent/guardian I will: see that my child attends school on time, communicate and work with the school to encourage my childs learning and positive behavior.

the childs pare says: I will be responsible for my actions and behavior each day. I will respect the feeling, property and rights of others.
The rest of it bugs me because it is telling me as an Adult what to do with my child. The child part is more of the 4 keys the school here follows.
post #19 of 67
I wouldn't sign it. I sure as heck wouldn't want to feel like I was reading to my child every day because I *promised the school that I would*! I wouldn't even be able to enjoy reading to her after signing such a thing because all of a sudden it has been turned into a duty instead of something I'm choosing to do. The school is *completely* out of line telling you that you have to sign such a thing.

I also would not agree to make sure homework is completed every day. I'm against homework. It's my child's choice whether or not to do it each day, keeping in mind what the consequences might be if it is not done.

Asking about schoolwork every day? That's not something you should be required to do either.

I'm not even going to make my child go to school every day. Again, that should be my child's choice, keeping in mind the consequences. If so many days were missed that there started being consequences for me, I would explain that to my child.

The part about working with the school to encourage your child's learning and positive behavior is worded extremely condescendingly. And again, the most offensive aspect is that they're making you sign a statement promising that you will do such a thing. If I use the school as a resource to help me encourage my child's learning and positive behavior, it is because I'm *choosing* to do so, not because I've signed a statement promising to work with them on my child's learning and positive behavior!

Requiring the child to sign a statement promising to do their work and learn is ridiculous. What work they choose to do (again, mindful of consequences) and whether or not they want to learn is their business. Talk about training people to be obedient sheep! Preparing them to be dutiful little workers who do everything they're told when they're adults. Blah! As far as doing what is right, they should be doing it because it's right, not because they've signed a statement promising to be good citizens. The irony of the statement being worded as "doing what is right... because it is the right thing to do" when the statement establishes *signing the promise* as the reason for doing what is right! The irony of implying that it shouldn't be "others" who make us do what is right, when it is "others" who are making the person sign a statement promising to do what is right!
post #20 of 67
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