Sara, I am reading the interview now. Thank you for your book, your advocacy and your tireless efforts on behalf of beleaguered families everywhere.
I am up to the part where you are asked, if parents do finally work up the courage to speak out, aren’t they afraid their children will pay the price? To which you respond, the cost for NOT speaking up is so much greater.
I can attest to that. When we suffered indignities and humiliations silently, it did not get better, my “ulcer” got worse, and years later, I still regret not sticking up for my child in that instance. I no longer want to make that same mistake twice. Or thrice.
Sara, you go on to say that while you understand those fears, it is the rare teacher who takes it out on the student. When we entered the public school system, two friends, fancying themselves wise and well versed in public school culture, warned me. If you ever speak up, you are black listed. True or not, this urban myth constantly circulates and it surprises me that many parents I know, smart, educated,sophisticated, would succumb to this fear.
While it’s never easy taking a stand, especially if your child is in a gifted program where homework is legendary, Sara is right. The damage done to you, your child and your entire family is so much greater than any perceived fallout from the school.
I have been a part time teacher and still substitute, although it’s not my chosen profession. Looking at it from that perspective, as a reasonable open minded person, if a parent comes to me with a well thought out reasoned debate, I am going to listen. But that’s me.
What I might resent is an undercurrent of gossip and ill will, where parents are afraid to talk to a teacher (over any issue) so only whisper amongst themselves. I could never ever imagine taking out resentment towards a parent on her child. I simply would never do that but that’s me. I cannot deny it’s never been done to my child but it is still not a potent argument for remaining silent.
On the whole, I’m opposed to homework below 4th grade, with a few exceptions. Children should be reading for pleasure every day, which is a form of homework. Children need lots of practice in gaining math mastery, so a few……