17 September 2010

Parent Power?

Don't you hate those dumb letters that come in the mail from the school the week before the state test?  They tell you to be sure to feed your child nutritious foods and ensure that he gets enough sleep so that he can perform well.  Once I even got a note from a teacher stating that we were to avoid scheduling all but emergency doctor visits and to get my child to school on time!  Because (drumroll, please)... school is important.

I can see that from the school's perspective, they want your child to do well on the tests so that they look good and don't lose their accreditation.  And they seem to have about a million bucks they NEED to spend on paper and postage each year, because that money DOES burn their pockets.  We wouldn't want the school credit cards the administrators have been using on hotel rooms and booze to melt...

I think about 5,000 letter recipients called the administrators to thank them the last time they were sent.  The phone lines were flooded!

"Oh, Mr. Barnes," the standard conversation would begin, "Thank you soo much for that note I just received with your personal (stamped) signature.  Here I had been thinking of feeding my children nothing but Twinkies (tm) and keeping them up until 3 a.m. during testing week.  Your letter *changed my life!*  You are soo wonderful!  Any ideas on how to make literature fun through the use of reading logs?  Or how to reduce bullying by 'being nice?'  I can't WAIT until the next newsletter! *Mmwwaah*"

Um, ok.  Just as a TAXPAYER, I need to tell you that I find these notes worse than a waste of money.  They are just a liiiiittle insulting to the parents schools need to get all "involved."

All kidding and snarkiness aside, it's the same all over the world when it comes to schools wanting to tell families how to live their lives at home.  Some people are figuring out that it just isn't going to work:

"The rhythm of life in Middle Eastern, North African, and European countries is different from Anglo-Saxon countries. People wake up, work, eat, and sleep at completely different times than our societies are used to.

"In our overseas school, while we imposed an Anglo-Saxon schedule on children at school, in terms of lunch times and school hours, this did NOT mean that families or children would eat or sleep at Anglo-Saxon hours, and this was a CULTURAL conflict that we (as foreign teachers) did not even understand was even happening."

I had no idea that "eat a good breakfast before school" was an Anglo-Saxon thing before this!  But then, I've never lived anywhere but the US and Australia.  You'll find this blog post informative.


  1. Hey, I've gotten one of those letters. I thought that letter was stupid... I feed my children every day. And, I wouldn't think of keeping them up late. My favorite time of the whole day is when they are in bed and I have my free time.

  2. Don't you love useless, senseless advice. What a huge waste of money! I don't get school letters yet, but I do get my share of stupid advice.

  3. from M by email:

    Thanks for linking to my post. For years we had no idea that breakfast was an Anglo-Saxon thing, too. If you ever travel to Europe you find everywhere offering "Continental breakfast" which means no eggs, cheese, or protein. You only get coffee and a sweet roll (the last thing you want if you have any kind of blood sugar problem!). Even the McDonald's restaurants here don't offer anything other than the Continental breakfast items, because none of the Moroccans will eat them!!


Non-troll comments always welcome! :)