If the Facebook “Like” count at the bottom of this CNN article is any indication, you’ve probably already read “What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents.” (214,000 Likes in 24 hours? Really?)
But if somehow this eluded you, it’s an opinion piece by Ron Clark, author of The End of Molasses Classes and founder of The Ron Clark Academy (and Oprah sensation). In a “tell it like it is” tone, Clark asks parents to stop making excuses for their kids, allow them to fail sometimes, “be a partner instead of a prosecutor,” and give teachers the benefit of the doubt. When it comes to grades, he writes:
The truth is, a lot of times it's the bad teachers who give the easiest grades, because they know by giving good grades everyone will leave them alone. Parents will say, "My child has a great teacher! He made all A's this year!" Wow. Come on now. In all honesty, it's usually the best teachers who are giving the lowest grades, because they are raising expectations. Yet, when your children receive low scores you want to complain and head to the principal's office.
And above all, Clark writes, a parent should never speak badly of a teacher in front of a child.
It’s easy stuff to get behind as a teacher—but perhaps not so easy from a parent’s perspective. That begs the question: Is the piece a real plea for parents to be more forgiving of teachers or simply an exercise in catharsis? As always, leave your thoughts below.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.