Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pat O'Neill Nails PIAs

School board member Pat O'Neill recently made a comment that has elicited faux-outrage from a group of perpetually-outraged Montgomery County do-gooders. Her comment was so obviously true that it offended certain people who apparently took it personally, as well they might.

Ms. O'Neill noted that school principals who are forming committees that include parents are more likely to choose cooperative parents, and less likely to choose parents who are a "pain in the ass."

Now the Parents Coalition is in an uproar -- and when I say "Parents Coalition," I mean the five or six people who make ninety-nine percent of the noise for them, I assume the bulk of the group is well-meaning parents. Seems that pains in the ass (or are they pain in the asses?) feel they are being discriminated against.

No, this is just how the world works.

I am frankly ambivalent about the Parents Coalition. These are some shrill MoCo folks who do the good deed of monitoring Montgomery County Public Schools, making sure things that are bought are safe and nontoxic, making sure that budget procedures are followed and that school business is transparent and above board.

So far, so good. But it appears that their working theory is that the school superintendent and all the board members, as well as everybody else in Carver and in the administrations of every county public school, are conspiring to create the worst environment possible for Montgomery County students.

The Coalition is always accusing somebody of something. It may be true that Astroturf is bad for you, or that the Promethean boards are too expensive and the district doesn't have enough money for them, or that citizens advisory committee schedules are not well-enough documented. I'm glad somebody is watching and publicizing these kinds of issues. But there is so much shrieking and finger-pointing that the message is lost. I'm sure MCPS insiders hate to hear from the Parents Coalition, and it's not because they will hold their feet to the fire, it's because everything is stated as an accusation.

Anybody who deals with any school administration at any level will experience frustration. The schools have to make decisions, and they can't always decide the way you want, and you can complain all day long but that's just how it goes. I have seen bizarre decisions made at MCPS but I am willing to believe that the people we elect to make the decisions, and the people they hire to implement them, have their hearts in the right place, they want to teach our children well. Maybe they go about it funny, but they're good people and they are trying to do the right thing.

From the Washington Post blog, Daniel de Vise writes:
An exchange on the dais of the Montgomery County school board introduced a new acronym to the local vocabulary of educationese. Patricia O'Neill (Bethesda-Chevy Chase), the board's vice president, told the group yesterday that school principals "might not pick PIAs," [translation: pain-in-the-you-know-whats] to participate in school governance.

The board was discussing School Improvement Teams, groups of administrators, parents and faculty that meet regularly to make important decisions at public schools. The teams are central to the concept of local school governance: that running a school is the job of the entire community, not just the principal and a few sycophants.

The panel got into a heated discussion over the governance teams: Are they open to everyone, or is membership limited to the principal's picks? Are they public, or secret?
Board member Judy Docca (Gaithersburg), a former principal, said she had never known administrators to keep the groups hidden.

Board member Laura Berthiaume (Rockville-Potomac) disagreed: after having children in two of the county's elementary schools, "I had no idea there was such a thing as a School Improvement Plan or a School Improvement Team." If people are being excluded from school governance, she said, "most of them probably don't even know they're being left out."

A quick and random survey of school Internet sites found some support for each woman's claim. The sites of three high schools--Churchill, Blair and Gaithersburg--made no mention of either a School Improvement Plan or Team. The terms were mentioned on web sites of two out of three middle schools (Eastern and Kingsview, but not Briggs Chaney) and two of three elementaries (Chevy Chase and Fallsmead, but not Brooke Grove).

And who gets to participate on such groups? According to board member Christopher S. Barclay (Silver Spring), principals "look for team players. So if you find parents who aren't necessarily cooperative, I don't know that you're going to get invited to sit on a team...."

Berthiaume bristled: "If a team is composed of people who always say yes and never say no and never say 'but', then what you get, unfortunately, is a war in Iraq."

O'Neill said school governance is meant to be exercised by a small, responsible panel, not an auditorium full of parents. "I am not aware of groups being excluded," she said. "I am aware that if I was a principal working on this, I might not pick the the school to be at the table doing it."

Leaders of the Parents Coalition, a network led by some prominent PIAs, posted video of the exchange to YouTube, where it had been viewed 118 times by 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. Does Montgomery Discriminate Against PIAs?

The Parents Coalition video clip is on YouTube HERE.

Here's what I'm talking about. The board is discussing wording to encourage parents to participate in development of a school improvement plan. Principals, apparently, put together a team at each school that includes parents to work out a new plan, and the wording being discussed addresses the fact that MCPS wants to have diverse and representative views. The board members, however, are aware that you can't have everybody on the team, and that it will be important for principals to use their discretion to populate the team with members who can contribute and cooperate well. The Parents Coalition titled this video: Montgomery County Public School Board on Excluding Parents. No, they were discussing including parents and how to write the policy so that the appropriate goals are met. The Parents Coalition's glass is always half empty.

In the description field on the right, the Parents Coalition wrote this:
The Montgomery County Public Schools (Maryland) Board of Education discusses which parents can be excluded by principals from participating on local School Improvement Plan committees. Please move small children from the room when viewing this video. This video should be rated PG for language.

PG? The word "ass" is used after approximately eight minutes of the most boring grown-up discussion ever, no kid in their right mind is going to sit and watch this. The misrepresentation of this discussion is symptomatic of problems with the Parents Coalition.

I don't know the history of this, but it is apparent that somebody has been pressuring the school board to put more people, or nuttier people, on these teams. Board member Chris Barclay made a very good statement, and by his pauses and tone of voice you can tell that he is responding to things that have been said. He said:
What's needed are people who when on that team can disagree in a respectful manner. I think there's a real difference because I think we're always going to need a variety of viewpoints but those viewpoints need to be professional, they need to be respectful. And my point I'm making is that I think that while we're having an unstated conversation here, the stated conversation is that there are folks who have thrown that out to us, and made it seem like to the Board that oh, there are certain communities who are being excluded, when in fact the individuals who may have made those accusations are folks who based on the way that they do the business that they do in advocating may not get invited because they are not agreeable, and they don't know how to agree to disagree.

This is the issue. We have been saying this all along as we fought for a decent sex-ed curriculum. There may be more conservative and more liberal voices in the community, there may be people looking out for gifted children and people looking out for disadvantaged ones, there are many goals and perspectives, and if people work together something workable can be hammered out.

The problem has always been that some people simply refuse to negotiate. It's got to be their way. They'll sue if they don't get their way, they'll make things up, they'll accuse the other side of things, they'll pull stunts to get into the newspaper. You can't have a team with people like that.

In fact, I'll tell you, it's funny, I can't tell if the Parents Coalition is liberal or conservative. I don't know what their agenda is or what they want from the schools. All I can tell is that they are surly and complain a lot.

Later in the discussion, Pat O'Neill made her statement:
I am not aware of groups being excluded. I am aware that, you know if I was a principal working on this I might not pick the PIAs, the pain in the ass people [background laughter] in the school to be at the table doing that because they may only be representing their own views and not the greater interest of the school, and you know, I think this is broad language, maybe we should put 'No PIAs.' [laughter]

Everybody's trying to do a good job here, and you have to avoid some kinds of situations. For a team to work it's got to have good people on it, sorry if you don't like that or if you don't think you need to put out the effort to cooperate with other team members.

This is just how the world works. We don't discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, region, religion, gender, sexual orientation, language, socioeconomic status, age, disability, or gender identity. But some people, sorry to say it, are a pain in the ass, and that is not one of the protected classes. Some people go to a meeting and whine about things that nobody else cares about, monopolize the discussion, propose dumb ideas, argue with others, refuse to move on to the next topic or stick to the meeting agenda, and nobody wants them on their team. You can twist this however you want, you may flatter yourself and say the principal doesn't pick you because your ideas are so innovative and excellent that you put everybody else to shame, or because he or she is trying to get away with something and you're so smart you're going to catch them and spoil their plan. In my experience this is not the case. The reason the principal doesn't pick you is that you are a pain in the ass. Thanks for saying it, Pat.


Anonymous Derrick said...

I think the PIA´s are the parents who have nothing else to do other than to hover over a school and wait for something to complain about.

I am glad Pat said it. It`s very, very true.

These are the parents that follow their children to college and do the exact same thing. It´s a mess.

May 15, 2009 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I learned very early in my career that a strong, wise leader NEVER considers ANYONE to be a pain in the ass. When a leader is skilled, he or she channels everyone's unique personalities, strengths and weaknesses into something wonderful for the organization. When a leader loses the ability to be truly receptive and open, then he or she starts perceiving people to be "pains in the ass."

I don't like the fact, by the way, that one of our leading educators would use the term "pain in the ass." It's crass and sets a bad example for students. I would hope that our educators have a wide enough vocabulary to accurately describe someone without using a vulgar term like "pain in the ass." The term is fine to use amongst close friends, or even colleagues in another industry. Educators, however, should strive for more appropriate language.

May 15, 2009 9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. Adding to my previous thought... having our leading educators use the term "pain in the ass" to describe the students' parents is setting a particularly bad example for the students. School board members should be showing respect for parents.

May 15, 2009 10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have very mixed feelings about this. In general, I agree totally with the article. Anyone that has ever had the misfortune to be stuck in a meeting with these PIA people knows the agony and frustration of the situation.

Having personal experience with some of these people, I think that anonymous would not speak so quickly about channeling skills - it is impossible with them, trust me.

But, I also agree that wording Ms. O'Neill used was.... unfortunate. We do need to set an example for our kids.

May 15, 2009 10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya -- I know the agony of being in meetings with difficult people and when I feel that way, I realize that I'm the one not handling the situation appropriately.

However, I've also seen true leaders handle these situations absolutely beautifully. And, especially in the field of education, dealing with difficult parents should just be an expected part of the job. Anyone who can handle this issue only by ignoring them or calling them "pains in the ass" shouldn't be in the field of education. A corporate environment is much more conducive to being compatible with the type or personality that would look on difficult people as "pains in the ass."

May 15, 2009 11:18 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

I'm with Robin Ficker on this one. As that infamous heckler and perennial GOP office holder wannabe has said, the targets of PIAs' tirades "can go to Eckerd Drugs, spend $3 and buy a set of earplugs, which IMHO is roughly equivalent to not inviting them to serve on an advisory committee you form.

Maybe Bible-toting Anon can tell us how many times the word "ass" appears in the good book. Pat O'Neill said the word once in a meeting and elicited laughter in response. She has long stood up to PIAs of a variety of stripes -- bullies, haters, and whiners -- and I am grateful for her leadership and the example she provides all our kids.

May 16, 2009 8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, Bea, but having a school leader call some parents "a pain in the ass" is inappropriate no matter how you look at it. It completely flies in the face of the public school system's oft-stated goal of teaching children to be tolerant of varied points of view. Part of what goes into being tolerant of varied points of view is being equally tolerant of the fact that everyone has a different style and manner of getting their points across.

There are a number of ways that school leaders could -- and should -- channel the efforts of parents -- even the ones that they feel are personally challenging to them. For example, no one should be allowed, in a meeting, to monopolize the conversation. However, when someone IS monopolizing the conversation, the fault lies ENTIRELY with the committee chair. That person's role is to make sure the meeting runs smoothly. Perhaps the school system needs to train their staff in the art of running a meeting.

The fact that our school leaders can't seem to figure out how to deal with the personalities of various parents (by their own admission) does not bode well for the school system and sets a terrible example for our students.

And why did you call me a "Bible-toting Anon"? You just sort of threw that weird statement in there out of nowhere.

May 16, 2009 8:43 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

There is an Anon who frequents Vigilance, quoting scripture from time to time. That's who I referred to as Bible-toting Anon.

Egocentricity is a trait I'd expect in a PIA.

May 16, 2009 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patricia O'Neill is a butt-wipe

and I know she appreciates the crass way I expressed that

May 16, 2009 9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There is an Anon who frequents Vigilance"

the dirty little secret of TTF is that Aunt Bea is an anon

May 16, 2009 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

It's true that "Aunt Bea" is not my real name but you know when I say something because I sign every comment I post, unlike the PIA Anons who don't.

May 16, 2009 9:37 AM  
Anonymous PasserBy said...

It completely flies in the face of the public school system's oft-stated goal of teaching children to be tolerant of varied points of view. Part of what goes into being tolerant of varied points of view is being equally tolerant of the fact that everyone has a different style and manner of getting their points across.What world do you live in, Anon? There is no "goal of teaching children to be tolerant of varied points of view." There is simply no such goal, and it would be ridiculous if there were. Ideally the schools teach the most up to date, scientifically well supported views, where there are differences of opinion, but school is about facts and techniques for using facts.

It would be even more ridiculous to teach that it is just as good to interrupt and lie as it is to reason from facts and listen to others. Some "different styles and manners" are simply no good.

The idea that pain-in-the-ass people need to be tolerated equally to reasonable people is a myth created by Republicans to justify putting ignoramuses into positions of power. It is part of the same mindset that says it is just as good to bomb a foreign country as to talk with them and work things out diplomatically. Civilization depends on individuals respecting one another and deferring when they are outreasoned or outnumbered.

May 16, 2009 9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Anon, you are right. I looked up "diversity" on the MCPS website, and it talks only of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity. I could find nothing that talked about diversity of thought and nothing that talked about respect for people who hold those thoughts. Wow. Every time I look at the word "diversity" -- diversity of thought is one of the main things that come to mind.

That is incredibly mind blowing. Teaching children to listen to varying points of view, and respect for those who hole them, is not taught in the public schools.

Regarding people who are rude, interrupt, etc....Since the beginning of time, people have had to learn how to deal with other people in constructive ways. The fact that our school board members haven't learned the rudimentary tenets of this skill is equally as mind blowing.

Thanks for opening my eyes to the fact that diversity of thought is nowhere to be found in the public school!

May 16, 2009 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry for the typo -- meant to say "HOLD" instead of "HOLE"

May 16, 2009 10:41 AM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

For the most part, we as educators, are a "team" with parents when it comes to educating their children.

An open dialogue is critical to ensure that the student is receiving what is best for him or her.

One thing I have noticed is that, sadly, some parents who have a lot ( a mansion, gardener, maid, nanny, etc...) feel that they also "have" teachers; these parents treat teachers as "the help".

When this happens, one has to know how to deal with these individuals.

Teachers need to make sure that they have their professional back bones in tact and stand up for their professional rights. Sometimes people forget that teachers and administrators are human beings like everyone else.

If a teacher does not agree with a parent about something, they have the right to disagree with that parent. Many times we feel that we are walked over by hovering parents who think that they can just go over the teacher´s head and talk to the principal, for example. What does this teach their children? They are always right, of course!

I once had a student in one of my classes who I continually would catch cheating on exams by writing answer in the inside wrapper of his water bottle, on his arms, on his bracelet, etc. I had a meeting with the mother and said that her son needs to learn that this is not acceptable and he will receive a "0" for cheating. She didn´t like that idea, so she ran to the principal and, later, I was asked by the principal to give the mother´s child a final letter grade that was much higher than he deserved (basically, a "D" can magically turn into a "B"). I said no, and gave the child a "D". I told the principal that he would have to change the grade himself after grades were submitted as it was completely against my professional judgement. Once again, educators must exercise their professional rights. Do we want to teach this child that he can get through life by cheating? Sadly, some parents are OK with that.

There are a few parents who have the feeling of, "well, I pay teacher salaries with my taxes, so I am their boss in a way."--Well, I also pay taxes, so does that mean that I am my own boss? Only in my dreams, of course.

When I first started teaching, the school the school I worked at had a poster in the staff bathroom that said,

"Don`t blame me!! I don`t raise them, I just teach them!"

The "them" refers to students, not parents. However, when you have a disrespectful student who feels entitled to anything and everything--and then you meet that child´s parents--you realize that it´s true," the apple does not fall far from the tree."

Or, en epsañol, "De tal palo, tal astilla".

Happy Saturday.

May 16, 2009 1:41 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

"Anon" told "Anon:"

Well, Anon, you are right. I looked up "diversity" on the MCPS website, and it talks only of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity. I could find nothing that talked about diversity of thought and nothing that talked about respect for people who hold those thoughts.

A PIA doesn't "hold" anything; a PIA is usually loud, rude, obnoxious, incessant, and uncooperative. We all know the type, and the BOE knows the type very well. That's why the BOE supports MCPS principals, who prefer their schools' improvement committees consist of reasonable and concerned parents rather than PIAs. That way the committees can accomplish something other than being shock absorbers for the PIAs.

BTW Anon, this county has groups of homophobes and groups of LGBT folks, two groups who "hold" about as widely diverse thoughts as any two groups can. MCPS's newly revised sex education curriculum is called "Respect for Differences in Human Sexuality," and that's exactly what it teaches. Make it easy on yourself, click on RESOURCES above and "New Curricula" on the left side when you get there. You'll find, for example Lesson 10.1 cites MCPS's Nondiscrimination and Human Relations policies, which include a lot more than just racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity.

It's time for the PIAs at the Parents Coalition to realize that MCPS, which they loudly and incessantly complain about, as noted in today's Washington Post, leads both the state and the nation in student achievement. I suggest the PC's PIAs support the best school system in the nation for a change, instead of constantly railing against it.

May 16, 2009 2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing I have noticed is that, sadly, some parents who have a lot ( a mansion, gardener, maid, nanny, etc...) feel that they also "have" teachers; these parents treat teachers as "the help".It is interesting that if you search the white pages for some of the Parents Coalition leaders' names you find a disproportionate number of Potomac addresses. You should especially hear them whine about extra fees -- nobody in Lincoln Park or Wheaton complains about fees for classes and extracurricular activities, just these wealthy folks over in Potomac and Bethesda.

May 16, 2009 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

It seems to me that PC members could find something a lot more constructive to do with their spare time than criticize the best public school system in the country.

There are kids from disadvantaged families enrolled in MCPS who need extra tutoring in reading and math. That's just one constructive way to be involved in the school system. Next time you're perusing the MCPS website, type the word VOLUNTEER into the search box and see what you can do to help.

May 16, 2009 5:55 PM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

Agreed, Bea.

I try to stay after school to help students not only with their Spanish and French homework but also their math, science and whatever else I can help them with as well.

It takes a village to raise a child and volunteers are an important part of that village.

May 17, 2009 1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For all crazy old Aunt Bea and Derrick the Dunce know, PC members are volunteering their time.

Instead of commenting on blogs and organizing gay clubs for high schools, maybe AB and DtheD could use their "spare time" making some contribution to disadvantaged children.

How about working to give disadvantaged children vouchers so their parents can send them to competent and safe private schools such as the one Sir B.O. sends his kids to instead of the dangerous hell-holes they are condemned to by cynical Democrats seeking to appease corrupt teacher unions?

Just an idea.

Also, Derrick, how many brain cells have you sacrificed to tequila this year?

May 17, 2009 1:42 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

I have volunteered in my childrens' MCPS schools since they were in kindergarten. It was the same dozen or so left-leaning liberal moms and the occasional progressive dad who did every volunteer task those schools needed, from collecting hand me down winter coats for kids too poor to afford them to chaperoning field trips and recess to organizing reduced-cost physicals so kids from poor families could meet the requirements to play sports to fundraising thousands of dollars for the PTA, athletic and performing arts clubs to working with individual kids to improve their math abilities.

I never once saw you there helping with any of it but I do hear you loudly and clearly demanding tax-payer money be used to pay for "competent and safe private school" tuition, while you choose to do nothing to make public schools "competent and safe" and instead bad-mouth and ignore the public school and its students just down the street from your own home.

Your sense of community is completely lacking. If you really cared about "disadvantaged children...condemned...[to] dangerous hell-holes," you'd roll up your sleeves and help make public schools better.

PS. Don't assume everyone self-medicates just because you do. It's another sign of egocentricity, which characterizes PIAs.

May 17, 2009 3:25 PM  
Anonymous PasserBy said...

Anon, it looks to me like you been "told."

May 17, 2009 4:13 PM  
Anonymous Derrick said...


Really? Are you that blind?

Read my entry again and take a look at the part where I say that after school ends, I work with students by volunteering my time (after already working with them for 8 hours as their teacher) to make sure they are caught up in other classes. Oh, and every Saturday I take a group of students to a soup kitchen in Washington, DC to teach them to help OTHERS so that they don´t end up like YOU. I also coordinate with DC Reads, another one of those "do-gooder" organizations that you have no idea exists, which allows my students in the National Spanish Honor Society to work with inner-city students to better their reading skills. I do a whole lot more, too. You see, I care about others--you should try it sometime, you poor soul.

It makes a person feel good about himself or herself when s/he helps others. Man, you must really hate yourself.

I think it is safe to assume that you only care about yourself and your theocratic agenda and would never step foot into a school to help out another human being.

Stop attacking others for helping others.

May 17, 2009 5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Stop attacking others for helping others."

You miss the point, Derrick. You and the crazy old bat were saying that people should spend their spare time helping disadvantaged children instead of working to reform schools, as if you couldn't do both.

If you're going to assume that, it's just as well say that you two can't do anything except spout hyperbolic illogic on the blog.

May 17, 2009 11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL, Bea. Gee -- you're in the most liberal school system in the country, and you find yourself volunteering with liberal moms! WHAT A SHOCKER!!

Funny -- that's like saying -- "I went to a roller skating convention, and found myself working amongst half a dozen roller skating enthusiasts!"

And, besides, the conservative moms were probably exhausted from being up all night, fighting for the rights of unborn children. Oh, but that doesn't count, does it? Because IF those pesky children WERE born, that would be more work for the liberal moms, trying to find warm coats for all of them...

May 18, 2009 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

You and the crazy old bat were saying that people should spend their spare time helping disadvantaged children instead of working to reform schools,

I'm sorry Anon, but working to give disadvantaged children vouchers is *not* the same thing as working to reform schools, and the voucher comment is the comment Derrick and I were replying to. I do however, appreciate your demonstration of the typical smoke and mirrors tactic of confounding items, in this case "public school reform" with "private school tuition vouchers."

Incidentally, your belief that there should vouchers for private school tuition says you have given up on public schools and have no intention of reforming them to make them more "competent and safe" IMHO.

you're in the most liberal school system in the country, and you find yourself volunteering with liberal moms! WHAT A SHOCKER!!

More than 120,000 of the approximately 500,000 registered voters in Montgomery County are Republicans. Never once in the 21 years I worked as a volunteer at MCPS was any volunteer parent I worked with one of them. WHAT A SHOCKER!!

the conservative moms were probably exhausted from being up all night, fighting for the rights of unborn children.

You think Parents Coalition members are conservatives and are up all night fighting for the unborn? Well, if you're right they will be free to volunteer in the public schools during school hours. But I have to tell you, I don't believe conservatives stay up all night saving the unborn and in the case of the Parents Coalition, I have evidence anyone can see abortion is not one of their concerns.

Simply go check out the Parents Coalition blog and listserve messages. You won't find anything about abortion but you'll find plenty of things like the "Take the PIA quiz: Are you a "Team Player" or a "Pain in the Ass?" and comments like "I'm still waiting for someone at [a MCPS high school] to tell me my son won't receive his diploma until I pay $15.00 for his tech innovations class."

I'm not saying all of the PC members are PIAs, some of them are very good people and do work to bring needed reform to MCPS, but the group seems to been overrun in the past few years by a handful of PIAs who can do nothing but complain about the best public school system in the country. Those are the people who should put up or shut up IMHO.

May 18, 2009 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PLEASE, Bea. When you're a conservative in the midst of a bunch of liberals, you don't make waves when you're at your child's school. If you're there to help at a Valentine's Day party, it's not the time, nor the place, to get into a political debate. When someone gets into that talk, you just shake your head, smile, and go about the business at hand -- helping your child's class. Trying to argue with a liberal mom at a volunteer event is absolutely fruitless.

May 18, 2009 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Incidentally, your belief that there should vouchers for private school tuition says you have given up on public schools"

Bea has a point here.

Most inner city public schools have only been dangerous hell holes for about four decades.

Let's not try to give them an alternative for at least a century.

Let's sacrifice a whole generation of disadvantaged kids to make teachers' unions happy.

Then, we'll see what Chris Rock says.

May 18, 2009 2:37 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Oh I quite agree that at elementary school parties for Valentine's, Halloween, birthdays, etc., there may not be any non-related discussions among the room parent and the one or two other volunteers who might show up to help out, and there most certainly should *not* be any arguments over politics or anything else for that matter. But in the 21 years I've been a school volunteer at MCPS, the dozen or so of us who continued to volunteer in middle and high school got to know each other pretty well. There are no conservatives among us. Maybe it's different at other school clusters, but I can only speak about my own experiences downcounty.

"Incidentally, your belief that there should vouchers for private school tuition says you have given up on public schools"

Bea has a point here.

Glad to hear that, Anon. Thank you.

Then, we'll see what Chris Rock says.

What is it with you conservatives? Why do you care one bit about what entertainers have to say about politics? Are you are you a ditto head too?

Instead of waiting for comedian Chris Rock to address this issue, why don't you tell us what you think the teachers' union has done to "sacrifice a whole generation of disadvantaged kids," and to make and keep inner city schools "dangerous hell holes." Then maybe you could elucidate us as to what you think any of that has to do with the PIAs at the PC who bitch about paying fees for costly classes at the best public school system in the country.

May 18, 2009 3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's just see you tap it out without falling over and laughing:

There's a better plan than school vouchers for inproving the lives of inner school kids.

If so, let's hear it.

May 18, 2009 4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What have the teachers' unions done? Here's one way:

"Democrats such as Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, as well as teachers' unions, voiced concern that the vouchers take federal funds from the public schools."

Solving the inner city school problem will take a many-pronged approach. School vouchers for DC kids was one great prong. Some parents may not be able to afford a private school even with the vouchers, or they may not want to use the voucher program. However, it was a wonderful option for some.

School reform sounds great -- but it takes time. And your child has only one life -- one shot at school. It is sad that parents who were trying to do better for their kids had the rug pulled out from under them.

It is, indeed, a travesty that the Obama administration and the Democrats ripped that option away for students. The Republicans offered an amendment to try to save the program, but the Dems shot it down

I understand that two children in Obama's daughters' school are using vouchers. At the very least, the children who are currently under the voucher program should have been grandfathered in.

May 18, 2009 5:01 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

I asked why don't you tell us what you think the teachers' union has done to "sacrifice a whole generation of disadvantaged kids," and to make and keep inner city schools "dangerous hell holes."

I asked that question in response to your remark:

Most inner city public schools have only been dangerous hell holes for about four decades.

You missed the point of my question, which I will try to restate more clearly for you.

What have teachers' unions done to cause inner city schools to be hell holes for the past "four decades"?

May 19, 2009 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't say they personally made the schools dangerous hell holes.

I said they were willing to sacrifice a generation of kids by requiring them to attend these dangerous hell holes.

While we're on the topic, however, it might be interesting to see how the welfare policies of the 70s and valueless comprehensive sex ed programs of the same period led to the disintegration of many inner city families, feeding a cycle of poverty.

May 19, 2009 1:47 PM  
Blogger Tish said...

I'm a PIA and proud of it. When you have kids who are both GT and LD you have to be. Furthermore, I know and like Pat. I agree with her about committees.

But I do not try to volunteer in committees. Committee work doesn't suit me for multiple reasons. I find other ways to help.

I have had far too many experiences with teachers who do not believe that a smart child can be LD or that an advanced class should accommodate learning disabilities. I've seen it from 2nd grade through high school. I've had to deal with teachers who will not comply with IEPs unless the resource teacher is in the classroom. I've had teachers tell me I don't know what I'm talking about, then when required to meet with me and the resource staff, have turned around and lectured me on what my child needs (the things in the IEP that I had been trying to get the teacher to comply with in the first place) while still not complying. I have had teachers who preferred their own diagnoses of what my children's problems are and one who told me that she would not comply as long as my child was off medication. (My children's learning disorders cannot be medicated away.) I had to be a PIA in my sons' elementary school and it looks like I will have to be in high school. I had to be a PIA in my daughter's middle school. I never had to be a PIA in my daughter's high school or my sons' middle school.

So Derrick, maybe you are one of the teachers who understands that learning disorders are often very strong learning differences and need a different style of teaching or evaluation. Maybe you are one of the teachers who communicates with parents and is willing to be a partner in keeping an LD kid on track while still stimulating his GT brain. But sadly, you have many colleagues who are not like that. Every teacher is a fresh start as far as I am concerned. But if they prove themselves to be brick walls, I will go into bulldozer mode without apology.

May 21, 2009 11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what Tish says doesn't apply to just LD kids but all kids who each have individual characteristics and are pigeon-holed by the system

go, Tish

May 21, 2009 12:57 PM  

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