Get Schooled

Your source to discuss and learn about education in Georgia and the nation and share opinions and news with Maureen Downey

Ventings and vacation

The Get Schooled blog has been on break this week as I was in the wilds of New England without Internet. This post was supposed to show up Monday to alert you to the hiatus, but somehow did not.

So, I am posting it now. I will post some more stuff later today.

This post is about some pet peeves of readers. (And one or two of mine.)

1. I understand students can learn from powerful films about historic events or people. But I question watching such movies as "Finding Nemo" or “Madea’s Big Happy Family,” which several kids reported seeing this year in class. A teacher pal told me high school kids watch light PG-13 fare because movies with a message often have R-ratings and adult themes that may upset parents.(That said, I am not sure how a West Virginia high school teacher  was conned by her class into showing "Fifty Shades of Grey.")

Someone who just moved to Georgia was surprised how many movies her kids saw in middle and high school; she said movies were limited to elementary school in her former state. If schools are going to show movies, the criteria ought to be clear to parents. Are the movies aligned with the course material? Are they filler? Are they rewards?

2. Several readers sent me notes this year about schools ignoring parent emails. Some principals and teachers answer emails quickly; some are slow to respond. I am not perturbed when my email goes unanswered as I know it's easy to get behind with emails. My view: If the teacher doesn't answer, try again.

3. Many neighborhoods have signs posted that say, “Drive like your children live here.” A reader suggested another sign that ought to be posted in her intown neighborhood: “Park like you live here and have to go to work.”

In older parts of the metro area,  schools were built when many students walked so little on-site parking was provided for parents. As a result, the reader said parents now drive their kids to school and park their Pilots and Explorers as if a mass evacuation had suddenly been announced, forcing drivers to abandon their vehicles in the middle of the street, driveways and intersections. (I avoid leaving my own house any time between 2:45 and 3 in the afternoon due to the nearby elementary school release scrum.) And, the reader noted, the queue of parents to pick up their kids now starts 30 minutes prior to dismissal. Why?

4. Speaking of parents: I have seen several Facebook postings this year by adolescent girls in which they share a provocative selfie with the caption, “Am I pretty?” Or, “Do you like my new look?” Even if your daughter resembles Beyoncé, such postings are going to elicit a rude response from some jerk somewhere. Advise kids not to fish for affirmation online. They are fishing in polluted waters.

5. This last beef comes from a private elementary school parent who emailed me. “I just left the school award ceremony where the same 15 students from last year won all the awards again this year. Why invite all the parents to celebrate the same few kids every dang year?”

I concur. If schools want an end-of-the-year celebration, why not hold a cookout or movie-on-the-green so everyone enjoys the day.

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About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.