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Fear, Loathing and Back to School Night

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Our education system does often falls short of meeting the grade we’d like to give it. I do think there is a lot of bureaucracy (and paperwork — certainly for children in special education) and administrative detail that often doesn’t seem to be too closely tied to actually educating children. I also know that, like it or not, some of those onerous regulations are better to have, such as demands for more oversight and documentation about the use of physical restraint techniques and seclusion rooms in public schools. As Charlie is autistic, he would not even be able to go to school without the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Even with the IDEA, parents of kids with disabilities still often find themselves fighting with school districts about appropriate school placements and services for children. A recent incident in which a non-verbal autistic boy went without lunch at his New Jersey school because his parents owed $2.00 for his lunch bill showed how rules and protocol can get in the way of common sense. The boy’s parents only learned about what had happened via a brief note from their son’s teacher. I wondered if the incident would not have blown up as much as it did if the parents could have been contacted during the day or some kind of more extensive communication about what happened and discussion of ways to prevent it had occurred.

I like meeting teachers, therapists and school staff as they’re the people whose work plays such a huge role in preparing Charlie for his future. I’ve been something of a “warrior mom” in the past and sometimes it was necessary to provide Charlie with what he needed. But sometimes contentious emails and recording every meeting just communicated to the teachers that we didn’t trust them and were questioned how well they were doing their job.

My neighbor, the veteran middle school math teacher, often gets home around the time I’m waiting for Charlie’s schoolbus. She may look tired; as she often tells me with a smile, she loves teaching and truly enjoys her job. How can we make Back to School Night as positive?

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3:13PM PST on Dec 9, 2012

I'm Currently Trying To Effect Change In My Own Child's School District. They Recently Snuck In A Policy Without Parental Input That Will Double Punish Children For Bad Behavior. If The Child Gets Sent To The School's "Time Out" Room 3 Or More Times In A Semester The Child Will Not Be Allowed To Join Their Friends And Peers During The School's Holiday Parties And Festivities. My Question Is Why Punish Them Again For Things They've Already Been Punished For? It Isn't Fair And I Don't Think It Will Send The Message They Are Hoping For To The Children. Please, Sign The Petition To Help These Children. I Want To Help Them Have A Voice When No One Else Seems To Be Standing Up For Them. The Next School Board Meeting Is Coming Up And I Will Present The Petition To The Board Then. Thank You For Your Support.

4:11AM PDT on Oct 19, 2012

Thanks for sharing.

2:16AM PDT on Oct 19, 2012

Thanks for information!

3:01AM PDT on Oct 18, 2012


10:43AM PDT on Oct 16, 2012


12:05PM PDT on Oct 15, 2012


8:10PM PDT on Oct 14, 2012

I remember when I went to high school, my mom would go to back to school night. She only went I think for two years. At least she got to meet some of my teachers and know what I was doing in school. It sucks for some teachers when no parents come at all and they go through all that trouble of preping the classroom for the parents to see. I feed bad for those teachers. I think maybe some teachers don't like back to school night because it's more work for them to do and then if they have students that don't care about school, they still have to go in case if some parents do show up. Kudos to those parents that do go to back to school night!!

3:35PM PDT on Oct 14, 2012

Lack of funding and investing in education is a world-wide problem. Until we get our priorities totally rewired in all societies North and South, gloomy and dark schooling will remain.
Any teacher with more than ten students per class will not attend the students nicely in a relaxed and stimulating way.
Right now, with right-wing cuts in education across the board, classrooms have over 30 students all over the world. Very sad for both students and stressful for the teachers. Unsustainable by all standards.
Vote left, vote Obama.
No more right-wing creeps like Wert in Spain please. The other day Wert, the Spanish education minister said it was in the interest of Spain to castillianize Catalan schools. Untrue, if he did so, Catalans would become Spanish, and where would Spain get their plunderous fiscal imbalance from then?

1:17PM PDT on Oct 14, 2012

Images of Back to School Nights:
When my child was excited about something on display in the classroom (student work/projects) classroom atmosphere generally more positive--seeing what was being done beyond homework coming home reassures parents a lot, but not all subjects lend themselves equally to this (e.g., reams of math problems).
Schools with active parent groups (miss the PTAs of my youth--I think that model promoted better communication and helped avoid misunderstandings) had better parent turnout
Schools with schedules of which class when so parents of classmates together at the same time and teachers could provide overviews (downside was if 100% of the time went into teacher talking)
Student involvement in the night (fund raisers, classroom demonstrations, etc. sometimes clubs, other times opportunity for extra class credit)

9:08AM PDT on Oct 14, 2012


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