Last night I went to my first FSO, or PTA meeting. Apparently, they have these meetings about once a month, and the only reason I went now is because the director of our school was just unanimously asked to resign last week by the school board. So, thought I’d go and get some answers.
Come to find out there’s a lot of protection for people in those positions, so I wasn’t able to get much (i.e. any…) clarity.
However, what an incredible world of unrealistic expectations and crazy people I stumbled into! Instead of leaving, I decided to keep notes on the questions that were asked. Here’s the breakdown:
3x – Curriculum based questions. What is the curriculum? How is the progress of the students being assessed?
2x – Use of internet, google search, security, etc.
3x – My kid isn’t where they’re supposed to be, fix it.
4x – Various flavors of, “my kid has this problem, why haven’t you fixed it yet?”
Now, for context, my kids attend a brand new charter school that has a massively different model than your typical public school. Things like individualized learning, hands-on experiences, and no homework were some of the things that drew us to the school. However, most of the questions seemed to be one of two types:
- Why aren’t you more like the traditional public school?
- Why aren’t you making my kid perfect?
The answer to #1 is obvious – we’re not like the traditional public school. The answer to #2 is simple – that’s not what school is for.
Here, as a response, are few of my own questions that maybe we should be asking more often:
- What is the purpose of school?
- What are the things kids need to learn in school? (Facts and figures that are easily googleable? Or life skills like time management, problem-solving, leadership, and being internally driven to make good choices.)
- Who is responsible for a kid that is struggling or falling behind?
After the meeting ended I was bombarded by the, what I’ll call, “crazies” – people that I was scoffing at as they asked their questions of the school leadership. I’m sure they mean well – they just want the best for their kids – but their conflicting worldview is aggressively competing against the principles the school is based on. So why enroll your student here in the first place?
So, some other questions worth asking:
- How do we improve our abilities to be self-aware?
- How do we foster realistic expectations of other people and institutions?
- How do we determine when people are believing their own b.s.?