Sunday, March 19, 2006

Absentee Parents: A Working Teacher's Viewpoint

Classroom teacher Polski3 had a disturbing parent conference the other day in which the parents sent in an older half-sister as a kind of "Parent Pro-Tem:"
I had a "parent conference" this afternoon. The "parent" in attendance was not the students 'parent', it was his half-sister. She explained to us that they have the same Mom. However, "Mom is a drug abuser." His "Father" is currently "incarcerated" and will probably get out sometime this year. He lives at the house of his father's mother (his grandmother), who has several other grandchildren living with her. He has a bed and chest of drawers set up in the utility room, ("but there are no washers and dryers in there," we were told.) He has to keep the door to this utility room locked to keep his aunt (Fathers sister) from stealing what little bit of stuff he has to help support her drug habit. This being said.......
Among several other items, Polski asks an interesting question: (emphasis added)
I wonder how many more like him we have at our school? I can think of several students in my classes who are probably living like this. Is that living ? They say we are supposed to "relate" to our students. I cannot relate to this. Such a life was no where to be seen in my environment while I was growing up. So, U.S. Secretary of Education Spellings, what would you suggest the schools do to advance kids like this ?
Considering that Margaret Spellings holds the schools to be solely accountable for the academic success of every single American student, (while never uttering a word about the need for parents to also be responsible) I think that it's fair that Washington's EduCrat-in-Chief answer Polski's question.
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