79 Comments
Apr 3Liked by Jess Piper

Unfortunately, it has become acceptable to attack educators, even though it has been proven that parents can't deal with their own children after COVID-19. It is also acceptable to create a problem where there is none. I knew when people started complaining about Critical Race Theory (CRT), that we were doomed. Most of the people complaining can't even define CRT.

My son has always wanted to be a teacher. After a false accusation of hitting a child, my son tapped his head to get his attention because he was yelling and cursing, the boy told him that he "would have his job." Even when the cameras showed that my son did not hit this child, he was forced to resign or have a him being fired on his record. School districts claim to want men in the classroom, but they sure run them away every chance they get. It makes me sad.

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Having spent 25 years in public school education, I am right on this road with you. I am constantly reminded that I am thankful to be retired when I see excerpts of board meetings, sit next to disgruntled parents at a soccer game, or imagine managing a classroom full of kids and cell phones. In Iowa our legislature has followed the wishes of a governor to give vouchers to anyone wanting to go to a private school, removing money and resources from public schools. It is one more way to destroy democracy.

Once again, Jess, I thank you for your voice.

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Wow. I’m sorry. I don’t know why things have shifted so dramatically in the classroom since we were growing up. We mainly loved our teachers. Some we were afraid of. But regardless, they were people who were to be respected. Is it the “kid-centric” society we live in now?

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It started in the 80s when parents began demanding that their children be given As and honors classes even when (or especiallly when) the children didn't earn them. And then the law suits began; Principals had to begin the dancing between what they know to be true of education, child development, and developmentally appropriate learning and the legal system. It has been down hill ever since. This is all a part of the GOPs long-term plan to keep the populace undereducated just enough to make them fearful and thus more easily manipulated.

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Worse now every kid gets a participation medal, ribbons and trophies for just showing up, or not. like Basic Trainees getting a National Defense Service Medal for completing basic. OK they finally stopped issuing them in Dec 2022

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You'll be happy to hear that the participation trophy is on its way out. Enough GenX parents made light of them and their kids for getting them, that the kids actually started asking to not get them!! At least in my small little sphere of the world, anyway.

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Kids are smarter than their parents. Every parent thinks that their child is special, and actually gets angry when the kids fail or don't get a medal, but apparently the kids are learning that when everyone gets a ribbon or trophy, the ribbon and trophy means nothing, and becomes the subject of jokes and put down's in the hall and cafeteria.

Is helicopter parenting on the way out as well?

Growing up in a project with a single mom, myself and my sisters were on our own. I would disappear into the woods (Tookany Park) for a day, we learned to socialize with others, how to handle bullies and disappointments. There was one pedophile that raped a friend, but he returned to his haunt and we kids caught him and called the police. There were accidents, brushes with death, but we learned survival skills, physical and social.

Kids today commit suicide because they are laughed and harassed on a phone app, or don't get as many likes as their peers. Compounded by the PATRIOT Act we are indeed moving into George Orwells world of 1984, he was off only by 40 years.

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There is a ton of research about the social-emotional effects of having been helicopter-parented and how the kids that grew up not being allowed to do anything for themselves are so fragile. The parents were fed so much disinformation and fear that you really cannot blame them for being super over-protective and ever-so-slightly-tiger-momish. Lenore Skenazy is one of the more out-spoken advocates for what is being called free-range parenting, which essentially advocates for not being helicopter parents. Free-range parenting (also known simply as parenting up until about 1983) is getting more and more attention. But I have not read a parenting magazine in almost two decades, so I couldn't tell you if it has become a mainstream idea yet. I will say that my neighborhood has a great group of free-range families and our kiddos get to have a camp-free, outdoor, run-of-the-neighborhood summer.

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I taught for a few years in Egypt, where teachers are respected and even revered. It was amazing to see the difference.

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In my career I worked in many state civil service jobs, and time and again I discovered that my co-workers and others were former teachers. They left either to teach in the state prison or not to teach at all, but to work as investigators, tax collectors and managers. When I asked why they gave up teaching, every single one of them said it was because they couldn't stand dealing with the parents.

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Parents were the primary reason I stayed in admin even after I’d gotten my teaching certificate.

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And imagine choosing to teach in a maximum security prison because it's preferable to having to deal with parents!

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Critical race theory is a boringly predictable, convenient and manufactured trope for "Fear of the Other". The teacher should have assailed the arrogant and entitled students with a mandatory reading list starting with Virgils "The Aeneid", Milton's "Paradise Lost", George Elliot's "Middlemarch", Proust's "In Search of Lost Time" and for good measure, De Tocqueville's "Democracy in America". Maybe, just maybe even one of these magisterial works might teach them something about life.

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Apr 3·edited Apr 3Liked by Jess Piper

Jess, I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a teacher in these days and times. I mean much of the responsibility for the hatred, the screaming matches, the vitriol, and the downright ill mannered behavior of parents lies at the feet of far-right wing news outlets. Not really news outlets, more like propaganda channels. There’s so much ignorance, especially in rural areas, and people don’t want to know the truth, they just want to shout and spew and be so ill mannered that it just boggles the mind. And you’re right they do this in front of their children. I have no idea why they’re so angry, but for the most part, it’s misplaced anger and they have been whipped into a frenzy by these cable stations that continue to spew their fake stories, and the lies every day. I used to live in rural North Carolina, and when I would drop in occasionally to my neighbors houses, more than likely 🦊 💩 would be on. And it was on day and night. And yet I can’t say it’s 100% the fault of these cable channels, because especially adults need to take accountability for their behavior but they’ve been fed a steady diet of falsehood day in and day out, and it has become, in their minds, communism, socialism, and immorality mixed with their own brand of religion which has nothing to do with love, inclusion, equality and happiness. It’s all about “owning the libs”, and there is no reasoning with them whatsoever.

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Apr 3·edited Apr 3

And a ton of Social Media disinformation for those that watch propaganda news and for those that do not watch any "TV" news. The algorithms take them right down the rabbit hole.

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Apr 3Liked by Jess Piper

Your students were lucky to have you.

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Apr 3Liked by Jess Piper

I taught for 40 years and retired right before Covid hit. I can see that I wouldn't have survived this new found "uncivil" discourse. Kudos to those of you that are braving it out on behalf of our youth.

(Pardon me if I go take a big long retiree nap. I'm worn out just thinking about this.) 🫤

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Apr 3Liked by Jess Piper

Disruptive behavior at school boards, city councils, county commissions, and other local agencies is part of the plan to undermine all government framework! Most of the disruptive participants don’t realize they are being used by right wing zealots!

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Not sure they would care if they realized it; their disruptions make them feel empowered.

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Trump loyalists don’t care

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And, people wonder why there are so many vacancies in public education! The Russian inspired game plan is working!

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This isn't Russian interference. This is a plan put in place by the GOP in the 60s. (I wish I could remember where I read about memos and meetings from party leaders at that time specifically calling for an covert attack on public education... 🤦🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️😬. If I find it, I'll share it.)

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Here is one article that kinda gets at the point. I'm going to keep looking for the original one.....

https://medium.com/politically-speaking/the-republican-assault-on-education-700b2cd16a34

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Thanks

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MAGA is directly involved, following their “boss)! Their boss, Trump, follows his idol, Putin!

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You are correct in that MAGA is involved and so is Trump. But this isn't their plan. And honestly there is a good chance that Trump is just another puppet in the show. The way I see it, Trump is the sacrificial penguin ("Observers may even gasp in shock at this childlike naughtiness: The penguins sometimes push an unlucky member of their group from an ice terrace to be sure the water below is clear of sea-leopards," https://oceanwide-expeditions.com/blog/adelie-penguins-the-little-people-of-the-antarctic). The powers that be are testing the water to see what they can get away with and how well their 60-year plan has worked. And I do believe "they" are pleased with their results and feel bouyed enough to carry on their original mission... :(

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If you find the link, I’d really like to read about it! Do mean GOP party members?

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If I'm not mistaken, it was guys like William Buckley and Barry Goldwater and their peers; not necessarily just politicians.

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Apr 3Liked by Jess Piper

Where in the contract does it say that teachers must protect children from the misbehavior of their parents? I'm not sure it helps anyone to tolerate parent's bad behavior "for the sake of the child". After the woman's rant, wouldn't it have been truthful to say" Now I know why your child went on such a tirade over the assignment, which, by the way, is part of the district-approved curriculum for this course. He's that way because he learned it from you. My impression of you based on what you've just said to me is that you are a bully. I decline to be bullied. You clearly believe that you know better than the school district what is appropriate curriculum, so I suggest you take action and start home-schooling your child. If you'd like me to continue providing him with education, inform him that he will complete assignments like every other child in the class or he will fail the term, just like any other child would who refuses to complete the assignments" and then I'd turn on my heel and walk out the door, thus ending the "parent teacher conference". My notes would reflect that the parent became hostile and I terminated the meeting as a matter of self protection.

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Great, but if you said those things to a parent you can kiss your job, pension and career goodbye.

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You’d keep your job. But doing this wouldn’t help anything. At the end of the day public school faculty can’t solve these people’s problems bc their problems have nothing to do with their children’s education.

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It hurts my heart to hear this. So very very sad. Thank you for sharing. It does seem that the combination of Covid and the diatribes of you-know-who have brought out the worst in some.

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I salute you for being a teacher and your public service. Awesome. My sister was a teacher in a relatively rural area of the NW for decades, won several awards. She told me similar stories.

Public schools are under attack by Christian Nationalists who want that public school money to come their way, so their followers can pay the outrageously high private religious school tuition, where their kids will get properly indoctrinated and placed under careful control. Thoreau won't be taught, that's for certain.

If diverting that money to their schools and/or home schooling wasn't the object, they wouldn't be going on about school prayer, then anti-vax, then CRT, then LGBTQ. They have highlighted solely issues that would justify retreating to religious schools that are 'safe spaces'--for them.

The lack of civility and overwrought anger you saw is designed to frighten and exhaust the rest of the population into withdrawing, to force taxpayers to give into the implied threats and pass our hard-earned money along to them, instead of using the funds to improve the public schools.

That was the experience when the CRT nonsense got a big start in VA. Gov Youngkin rode in on the coattails of a bunch of 'concerned mothers'--interestingly centered in one of the richest suburbs of the state. These rather well-heeled mothers went on and on in videos about how their poor little white boys (they seemed a whole lot less worried than their girls, which made me wonder) were being taught about slavery and misogyny and how that triggered their poor sons, made them feel bad and guilty. The underlying racist and sexist messages were so evident, all veiled under the phrase "Parents' Rights". Youngkin won on this message. I think frustration with COVID lockdowns was part of the win.

But then the School Council meetings got more and more fraught, other parents started to ask questions, and discovered there were a lot of MAGA type outsiders involved. The fact was a lot of the people standing up and screaming in these meetings didn't even have kids in that local school district, they were bused in. Likely paid off.

Parents got very tired of the constant chaos and said 'enough', started organizing and throwing out people who don't support public education. Most parents are double income around here, it is expensive to live, so it is hard for them to find time to show up at these council meetings. But they are showing up, and their anger is cold and hard now.

The pushback is just getting started, and a lot of damage was done in the meantime. Not saying it is solved, Christian Nationalist and MAGA types do continue to press on and try and disrupt these meetings. But Youngkin is a lame duck now, other parents are not holding back and regularly counter the assaults on daily school business. People are getting so fed up around here with the trashing of public servants, especially since they don't have a lot of time or patience to put up with such nonsense. They just want the schools to be safe and for their children to get a reasonably good education.

I really hope that trend continues.

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I'm really glad to read your optimistic comments about pushback. I surely hope it continues. These children need the good examples their parents are providing to ensure their education.

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Apr 3Liked by Jess Piper

Jess,

I want to thank you for sharing your truth with all of your readers. I want to thank you for your excellence as a public school teacher. I also want to thank you for your hope honesty and courage reporting truth to power with evidence. Civil disobedience has a long history in the US. Civil is doing a lot of lifting in that sentence. Xoxo

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Apr 3Liked by Jess Piper

OMG, Jess! This This THISSSSssss — (written thus to express my deep enthusiasm for your conclusion if not also the dismay at your experience and observations from BOE meeting) 😏

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In our rural Maine community with a village and grade school at its center, there are only 12 kids per class. Most of the parents know each other. Many of the kids can walk to school. We also have a large Advent Christian Church with many Christian schools in the area that no child can walk to because they are off on country roads.

During Covid, many families tried homeschooling. They apparently liked this. Now even more are trying it. Parents tell me they have more control over what their kids learn. A younger father with homeschooled children ran for school board and won. He told us at a town meet the candidates that he was concerned about the “sex books” in the school libraries that taught and showed “kids going down on each other” and asked if we thought it was ok for “Hustler Magazine” to be in schools? We asked him for titles and proof of what he was claiming. It wasn’t clear that he had been in a public school library.

A retired neighbor told us about how she has been trained to read books to children designed to give children special lessons after her career in teaching. She described a book about aquaculture, particularly seaweed harvesting, because we are on the coast of maine. She reads to K thru 4th graders at our community school.

Another neighbor told me he was keeping his two young children home to homeschool them with a few neighbors and their kids. He and his family seem to think it’s better for them. I thought what a shame, that they cannot match the resources of the public school with people like our reader neighbor, with art that we see in the school and the professional artists in our community that work with the kids from time to time. Our community library has a DVD video created at the grade school where students interviewed all of the elderly people in the community about their lives going back 8 decades. The kids were told stories about lobster fishing from wooden boats. Boats that were built in small but famous boat shops for our region.

Homeschooling has almost no standards for teacher qualifications, curriculum, facilities, materials and resources. Some kids might do well. But every benefit of homeschooling, you would think could be done by parents as a supplement after attending the local public school. That’s how I grew up. My exposure to smart students and good teachers challenged me to be a better student. I must say that my mother sent me to school telling that I had work to do there, that was important for my future. And then she and my father supplemented that education at home with many other teaching activities.

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Apr 3·edited Apr 3

In NY home schooling must follow the state required syllabus, and the students must pass all standard school exams in order to graduate. Parents are not free to cherrypick what to teach or what not to teach. Even so, home schooling deprives students of team sports, social interaction with other kids and adults, field trips and the good memories we all have of our school-based growing-up years.

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Go Jess Go!

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Apr 3Liked by Jess Piper

Thank you for your excellent comments. Your insights are so valuable and inspiring.

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Apr 3Liked by Jess Piper

I retired from teaching 14 years ago before this kind of disrespect began. Before this is over, there won’t be many teachers left.

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Times have changed. It used to be that I was lax in choosing school board candidates. No longer so. I dig deep and research to sort out the crazies from those who actually care and want the best public education for all of our kids.

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Yep. My husband and I have always looked carefully at the local candidates and vote as a 'block' of two rather than cancel each other out. We actually determined an election that way about 20 years ago because the turnout was so low.

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This behavior is not only seen at school boards, but is being seen at local public libraries. I understand differing opinions, but the entitlement of telling others how and what to think and read is a really scary trend.

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