Year: 1996-1997
Month: January
Leader: Group E

Situation/Case Study:

I have a kindergarten 6-year-old who is reading at a third grade level. She is OK but her parents want more in the way of a pull out. In fact, they want her to be moved into first grade now. Test results do not warrant a move. The parents have appealed to the District office. They are pushing her too much. They have insulted me by saying, "She's been dumbed down." The parents want this girl to be accelerated to the first grade already. They are working with a psychologist. She was reading already last June during kindergarten visitation. She taught herself to read. The parents seemed very nice at the outset of school. They made no special requests. Mom came in two times to help but she really messed up and was too critical with the beginning readers. I've since heard she has been released from two teaching jobs for inappropriate developmental behaviors with kids. Mom wants her writing paragraphs after reading a book. It's not appropriate. Mom wants her doing math problems on paper with summing symbols and not working with manipulatives. On Nov. 7th, Mom said she wanted the girls accelerated. I had been giving supplemental ideas for at home. Mom has been visiting other schools looking for a first grade room. The parents wrote a nasty letter to the principal and sent carbon copies to others higher up. The letter attacked me personally for not recognizing the girl as a unique learner. They are now keeping her at home until the District deals with the appeal. I bet the District will give in to the parents and go against the school team recommendation to keep her in kindergarten. A psychologist is advising these people to take this action. This is blatantly disrespectful of the system and me. The father showed up unannounced before school one day and demandedo first grade now. Test results do not warrant a move.

The teacher feels irritated because the District office is unlikely to support the team's recommendation. The teacher feels betrayed because the psychologist is advising against accepting the professional judgement and advice of the school team. The teacher feels discounted and unappreciated by the parents who are challenging 15 years of this teacher's experiential knowledge. The teacher feels hurt that parents would treat her in this way. The teacher feels frustrated by the lack of opportunity to work with this girl over longer time. The teacher feels frustrated by the lack of respect from these parents. The teacher feels betrayed by the parents who were to be partners in the girl's education. The teacher feels distracted from her work with the other kids and distressed by what is happening. The teacher feels worried for the little girl and what these parents are doing. The teacher feels frustrated because this is how we forge our district policy. There is no policy to support the teacher.

Theories behind practice:

Impact on others:

Send more letters home about what is being done in class so parents understand the curriculum. Keep very detailed records of phone contacts and conversations. Encourage administrators to expect parents to follow the chain of command and deal with the teacher before they can move on to the District and accuse the teacher of not doing things to help their daughter.