Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Why people keep quiet

There has been no great fallout from my blog about math homework.


(A conference has been scheduled with the teacher, and I did email the principal to ask if this homework policy is a school-wide policy and how it can be justified as being in any way helpful to students.  I said it politely, but I think my point was clear.)

Although there hasn't been a response to that, what there has been is numerous discussions in person or via email with 8 friends who have experience as principals, counselors, and teachers who are like, "Wha?"  I've also perused the district's progression, promotion and grading handbook for middle school to see what it says (or actually doesn't say).  Oh, and I've put in a call to the district ombudsman to see if there is any JCPS stand/policy on this topic.

I want to go in fully informed.

The input from my friends/colleagues has been valuable to me because even though I have prior teaching experience and have held a valid license for 16 years, I questioned whether I had any authority to question the teacher's policy.  I questioned whether I was wrong for thinking it was odd.  I mean, I haven't worked full-time in a classroom for 13 years, so what do I know?

And this realization helped me better understand why so many "odd" things happen in schools, in government, in businesses, in churches.  People doubt their authority to acknowledge what they find screwy and actually say something about it.  

They keep quiet because they think they don't know enough about the situation to notice something is weird (which can just be plain ole weird but could also potentially be corrupt).
They keep quiet because they think their input doesn't matter.
They keep quiet because they don't want to "start trouble."
They keep quiet because they don't want to hurt feelings.
They keep quiet because they don't want to gain a certain reputation.
They keep quiet because they don't want any fallout to hurt their family (or child, in my case).

I realize this grading thing is small fries compared to what N's school is dealing with---overcrowding and a lawsuit about bullying--and so it is entirely possible it will be shoved under the rug.

If it is, it is.

But you better believe that next year, I'll be asking at Open House what her teachers' policies are on homework and its consistent return to students.  And I'll be encouraging every parent I know to ASK QUESTIONS often.  

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