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Am I making a bigger deal then I need to? - Page 2

post #21 of 67
I think you have to pick your battles if you're going to send your kids to public school. If you're getting your panties in a wad over something like this, it's going to be a long, hard, painful road to graduation for you and your kids.
The compact sounds pretty great to me. It lays out what is expected from all parties. If you're going to send your kids to school for someone else to teach, it's within the teacher's right to expect things in return from you. You have to remember, like a previous poster pointed out, there are many many parents who couldn't care less what is going on at school. They don't read to their kids. They don't care if they had breakfast before school or if they're dressed properly. There are lots and lots of parents who don't want to be bothered at all with any of it. I think it's great that your teacher wants parents involved.
Anyway, hope you don't mind my opinion. You did ask.
post #22 of 67
"I think you have to pick your battles if you're going to send your kids to public school." Boobs.

As someone who is "homeschooling friendly", yet has kids (2 now! 1 is homeschooled) at school I know I have to pick my battles. It is better for your child, and ultimately better for you (if you come across as "that mother", they may be less inclined to listen to you when there is a real problem) to let some stuff go.

Now, as to whether I would let this issue go -probably not.

I would (depending on energy level)
-cross out words and insert my own(such as "read daily" to read regualrly).
or
-do what lisalou suggested (nice post!).

Lisalou's is nice becuase it allows you to talk to the teacher about your concerns right off the bat. School is more a marathon than a race, and this issue will come up again. It may solve you some angst to be upfront right from the get-go.

Kathy
post #23 of 67
Most likely this is a title I thing. If your schools 80% or more kids getting Free or Reduced Lunch ( I think) then the school is required by the federal government to have parents, students, and teachers sign these. I have not taught at a school yet that actually looks at them after they are signed. They put them in a folder and wait until someone comes to audit the school. they show them that whatever percentage of their parents signed them and that is the end of it. I personally would just sign it but only because I work at these schools and know that no one cares what they say or who signs them.
post #24 of 67
Amanda'sMom: I completely agree with you. I would feel exactly the way you do. We are homeschooling, but I am contemplating putting my older son in school simply because he is craving the social interaction so much.

But these are exactly the types of problems I envision. Everything you mentioned would bother me too. In addition, the whole "just sign it to not get in trouble" - oh man, what a dangerous path to start kids on. The whole blind obedience just to avoid too much hassle. I hate to think we are teaching young kids that you just go along to get along. Don't make a fuss, don't have any individual ideas, opinions, or thoughts. Just sign it.

I was raised by the same type of parents you were, and they did take stands with my schools over the years. Times were a bit different back then, and they were able to get away with more. And there were plenty of things they just signed and ignored. But gah, it bugs me the same way it bugs you.
post #25 of 67
That would bother me too. I would not sign it. I don't believe in pledging or swearing because pledges and oaths are too easy to break. They mean something! And I wouldn't want to teach a seven-year-old about it with a phony contract from the school, either.

"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."

I hate this because it's all absolutes. It's also vague. Absolute vagueness, my pet peeve. What does the school mean by "place for homework"? What if one day we decide to play baseball instead? What if one day, I decide my child can be late because another child is sick and I have to take her to the clinic IMMEDIATELY? Argh. I can't deal with stuff like that. I would re-write mine, with a lot more about encouragement, teaching the values of being prompt and respectful of others' time, and so on.

"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 believe in rights. I believe in obligations. Our whole moral framework is different from theirs. I also think that it's more about being a good person, not a good citizen.

I don't know what I would do in your place (homeschool is looking better and better) but I feel for you. It bugs me a lot and you are not making too big of a deal.
post #26 of 67
As a teacher I think that the idea about the compact is great. I realize that the mothers and fathers on this board are already going to be doing involved in their children's lives and education and thus already doing all of the things the compact states. I realize that as a parent that was involved and such it would be insulting but I think you would be surprised at the number of parents who do not take any interest in their child's education and will not read to them at any time or pay attention to their homework unless they are told to do it. As a teacher I think regularly is probably 5-6 times a week- what if a parent thinks it is once a week, once a month? Also there are parents who need to be told to check their child's homework. I field calls all the time about how they did not know their child was not doing well that if they had followed the homework and my notes they would have seen how much help their child needed. There are many parents that need to be told to read daily and I realize that they probably stil aren't and that is their choice and they have to make the best decisions for their family. Most of these things are not written for the parents who are involved it is for the ones who are not but I can't say- Janey you don't have to have this since your parents are involved. Now if you approached me about it I would listen and say if you really didn't want to sign it- no big deal. Also I find it interesting that there are people who feel that teachers would not sign a compact about listening and providing interesting lessons. I strive to listen to my students and give interesting lessons everyday and I know many teachers who do also- along with many teachers who do not do that and I would have no problem signing that part of the compact.
post #27 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamatowill View Post
. I realize that as a parent that was involved and such it would be insulting but I think you would be surprised at the number of parents who do not take any interest in their child's education and will not read to them at any time or pay attention to their homework unless they are told to do it. .
I think this is really probably the key on why they are sending something like this home. There are a lot of parents that think that if there is a problem with their children it's the school's problem to work it out. I remember last year overhearing a conversation about a little girl who's backpack was never emptied out, and all the school notes, homework, etc. just stayed in her backpack. Apparently, her parents never bothered to check.

OP - you have lots of good suggestions on how to handle this situation. I do not like signing "Codes of Conduct" - ever. And I agree, it would have been nice to have had the teacher/school include what they were agreeing to in addition to what they were expecting of the parents and students.
post #28 of 67
" I realize that as a parent that was involved and such it would be insulting but I think you would be surprised at the number of parents who do not take any interest in their child's education and will not read to them at any time or pay attention to their homework unless they are told to do it."

You know...these pledges mean nothing. A parent who does not read to her child regularly is not going to suddenly start because they signed some paper saying they would....and a person who does read regularly doesn't need to sign it.

I still think sending home a tips sheet (in case you literally came from another planet and need a reminder that children should be read to) is the way to go.

I also detest having to read and put up with a bunch of bull-crap (like the compact, sorry) because some parents do not do their job.


If a child has a reading, or behaviour, etc issue - addressing them directly with the family is best. Blanket statements are rarely necessary. Like a previous poster, the stipulations bug me. I see reading as a total package thing....not a daily prescription (and I have two readers ahead of grade level). It involves going to the library regularly, watching parents read for fun and information and being read to (which I do not do nightly, shock oh shock - but pretty darn often )

Mamatowill: I suuspect many teachers (of the easy going variety) would sign a compact, but some would not (not because they object to the contents of the compact, but more because they object to the existance of the compact and parents telling them what to do, and the assumption, by the existance of the compact that they are not doing their job)

I think the best kind of compact, and the only one I would sign is thus:

Parents, children, and teachers get together and brainstorm a list of rights and responsabilities for everyone involved. Everyone comes to a consensus and signs. Much better, and more empowering for everyone than the compact in the Op which is very much a top down thing.

Kathy
post #29 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
" You know...these pledges mean nothing. A parent who does not read to her child regularly is not going to suddenly start because they signed some paper saying they would....and a person who does read regularly doesn't need to sign it.

I still think sending home a tips sheet (in case you literally came from another planet and need a reminder that children should be read to) is the way to go.

I also detest having to read and put up with a bunch of bull-crap (like the compact, sorry) because some parents do not do their job.


If a child has a reading, or behaviour, etc issue - addressing them directly with the family is best. Blanket statements are rarely necessary.
I could not agree more with this.

I would probably (will probably, if this comes up) just sign the thing and send it back, without any fanfare, because I would want to choose my battles.

But, I am already - and my son isn't even in public school yet! - so tired of being asked to do things because some parents don't do them. I find it totally patronizing and stupid for teachers to behave as if they have to regulate what happens in everyone's home - and tiring for the teachers, too, because they do NOT have that control and trying to do it is a waste of effort.
post #30 of 67
I just pulled out the newsletter for this past week which is the first piece of paper that has come home in my ds' backpack since we started school.

The newsletter had "pledges" from the principal:
It is our pledge to keep your children safe while they are in our care. We promised to honor them and respect them as individuals and as children. We will begin in earnest to make their potential and capabilities visible so you can share in their experiences while they are away from you. It is also your right to join in as much as possible. This means participation in the classroom, conversations with teachers, attendance at events and certainly dialogue with me.

There were also highlights on two specialty teachers (Sound and Movement teacher and the Art Studio teacher) who also gave their pledges to what they would provide/foster/encourage etc.

This is a charter school - not private. I haven't been asked to sign a dang thing other than the emergency medical forms - which I have no problem with BTW! Last year at ds' other school, I had to sign something very similar to what the OP described. It's amazing to me how much better I feel about his new school when even the communication sent home is so collaborative and positive. It sets the mood, ya know?
post #31 of 67
My daughter's school has something smililar to that, to be signed and retured to the school. I simply didn't sign it and never returned it. No one ever said anything to me about it. I didn't sign it beause of principle, and I don't think that making a child sign something "binding" is appropriate.
post #32 of 67
Our school does the same thing, only they call it a "contract." DD is in 5th grade at this school, and I've yet to sign one. I wrote them a letter explaining that we have no problem abiding by sensible rules. But children don't sign contracts, period. Further, children are entitled to an education in the least restrictive environment, so they can have all the contracts they want, but they are meaningless in the face of the law.

I think we are the only family they've ever encountered who don't sign it, but we've never heard a word about it.

My dd was stressing initially that we didn't sign it. The letter took care of that, and the teacher stopped bugging her.
post #33 of 67
This is a great thread. I started out thinking "I can't believe she sent her dd in to tell the teacher that!" But that's been addressed; moving on... Then I bristled at the general "damn The Man!" mentality. Now I'm pleased with the overall discussion.

I am an elementary teacher. Yes it is absurd that things like this exist. Yes, it is unfair to the involved, competant parents to have to promise to be involved and competant because there are other parents who need a reminder. But because of the privacy and confidentiality schools owe all families, it is extremely difficult to single out families who need to be instructed in how to support their children's education.

OP (and others), yes, I think you are overreacting. Underneath all the crap, schools really do want what's best for our kids. They try to sell you artwork because they don't have enough paint and crayons. They ask you to promise in writing that you will do your job because some parents don't know how. They allow advertising because they are desperate for funding. It sucks sometimes, for all parties, but we do the best we can.
post #34 of 67
If some parents aren't supporting their child's education, by all means make SUGGESTIONS and ENCOURAGE them to do this or that. But expecting them to sign a statement promising to do those things is completely absurd.
post #35 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sustainer View Post
If some parents aren't supporting their child's education, by all means make SUGGESTIONS and ENCOURAGE them to do this or that. But expecting them to sign a statement promising to do those things is completely absurd.
Yup. And deal with the problems as they arise. Because, no matter how many contracts you try to make people sign, they are worthless, and everyone knows it. When my dd was slugged by another kid, I guess I could have gone into the principal and said, "But Johnny's mother signed a contract stating that little Johnny wouldn't slug other children." But, gasp, he did! How could that happen?

My dh teaches in a public high school, and I am an educator at the university level. We are well aware of the problems public school teachers face. But you know, sometimes you just have to grow a pair, and deal with the kids who are causing trouble, and stop pussyfooting around trying to make the problem behaviors go away through magical thinking.
post #36 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecoteat View Post
I am an elementary teacher. Yes it is absurd that things like this exist. Yes, it is unfair to the involved, competant parents to have to promise to be involved and competant because there are other parents who need a reminder. But because of the privacy and confidentiality schools owe all families, it is extremely difficult to single out families who need to be instructed in how to support their children's education.
I am really sorry to single you out because I know you're just a teacher doing your job but - that's ridiculous. Surely you talk to individual parents about how their individual child is doing. That's not an issue around confidentiality.

These contracts don't exist to protect anyone's privacy. They're just a blanket thing someone came up with that looks good and makes administrators happy because they can say they have 98% buy-in or whatever.
post #37 of 67
Essentially, the school is assuming that parents are potentially negligent or guilty by sending a contract home to be signed. It's basically saying that they won't believe a parent's good intent unless they sign the contract. That's not a great basis for a good relationship.
post #38 of 67
whoops double post :
post #39 of 67
Um, I wouldn't sign it. Not that I disagree w/the statements but just on principle. We have enough Big Brother in our society and I see no reason to add more.

hmm
That really irks me. I am a teacher and I have kids in school. Nope, no way I'd agree w/that. But, I'd be passive aggressive and just fail to turn it in. If pressed, I'd simply say we prefer not to & please show me where it's required to attend a public school.
post #40 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
In addition, the whole "just sign it to not get in trouble" - oh man, what a dangerous path to start kids on. The whole blind obedience just to avoid too much hassle. I hate to think we are teaching young kids that you just go along to get along. Don't make a fuss, don't have any individual ideas, opinions, or thoughts. Just sign it.
Yep

Oh and I am at a Title 1 school. No way, no how we'd do that. Sure, we'll pass out info on it but requiring it to be signed? :
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