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Angelo Angelo is online now
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,136
Senior Member

Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,136
Senior Member
"Is there anything else he can do?" Part 2
Old 06-16-2019, 08:18 AM
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I posted "Is there anything else he can do?" to describe parents who expect the school to excuse their kids (high school age) from work and/or offer up alternatives to the work they have neglected or on which they have procrastinated.

Now we're done with finals, and the second round of begging, pleading, threatening, demanding begins in earnest. Students don't have their final grades back yet, but they got their final examination and project marks back.

If some of these kids (and parents) would expend half the energy and sense of purpose into preparing for finals as they do begging and pleading for special consideration when their kids drop the ball on exams, there would probably be no need for any of this nonsense.

Honestly... some of these parents are completely shameless. The varsity blues scandal is beginning to come into clearer and clearer focus.

I've had at least five parents ask that their kids (graduating SENIORS, people... many of them 18 years old) be permitted to come back in and re-do exams or re-do sections of the exams they failed or left blank. NO.

Other parents outright ask for creative accounting on the calculation of the final grade... i.e. that the school simply ignore or fudge over exam results and give them their (higher) term grade instead.

Many parents (not an exaggeration) of Junior students who wants to take an advanced Senior course next year has tried to argue with me about matters of school and state policy and demand to know "who they can talk to about this" if I won't "help."

For example:

E-mail to student, CCd to parents: "Hi James. You requested AP Calculus for the next school year. Unfortunately, AP Calculus requires you to have achieved a Grade of A- or better in Pre-Calculus. You achieved a grade B when your final was calculated. As a result, you have been placed in Regular Calculus (not AP). If you wish to attend summer school to upgrade your grade to an A- or better and still wish to take AP, we will hold a spot for you. Please let me know your plans."

Within minutes (not joking), my office phone was ringing.

Me: Good afternoon. Academic advising department.
Parent: Oh... Mr. Angelo. This is James' mom. I'm so glad I caught you! We were very upset to receive your e-mail message!
Me: Yes?
Parent: Yes. We feel very strongly that James should take the AP Calculus next year.
Me: Yes?
Parent: Yes. And I want to know how the school can work with us on this.
Me: Well, I think I laid out the road pretty clearly in my message.
Parent: No, you indicated summer school. That does not work with our family's plans.
Me: I see.
Parent: I'd like to know what other alternatives exist to permit James to take AP.
Me: None, really.
Parent: That's not helpful.
Me: Well, I don't know what else to tell you. You need an A-level result in Pre-Calc, and he got a B.
Parent: There must be something else he can do. He was very stressed out about those finals.
Me: Be that as it may, he had a B going into finals and got a B on his final.
Parent: He worked very hard in the week leading up to finals. We thought he would get an A+ on the Pre-Calc final.
Me: Well... apparently, he... didn't.
Parent: So what can we do about that?
Me: Summer school.
Parent: Ugggghhhh. Can you work with me here? I can't believe with all the time and money we've put into James' schooling (there is is... the money card), the school would do this to him going into Senior year.
Me: Grades are a reflection of the student's level of achievement based on student work. It's not something the school "does" to students.
Parent: There are always solutions.
Me: Such as?
Parent: You tell me! You're the counselor!
Me: Summer school... or regular Calculus.
Parent: *SIGH* There must be OTHER solutions.
Me: *silence*
Parent: Like... can he come in and re-do part of the exam?
Me: No.
Parent: Why not?
Me: We don't allow do-overs on finals.
Parent: At my daughter's school, everyone is allowed at least one re-write on any test.
Me: Not at our school.
Parent: What if we agree to arrange tutoring through the summer and into the fall?
Me: That's great, but it won't change his Pre-Calc grade.
Parents: But if we agree to do that, maybe the school can waive the A- requirement and permit James to take the AP?
Me: No.
Parents: Just... no? You're not even going to consider it.
Me: This is not the first time this has happened. We've had many families propose private tutoring as an alternative to summer school, and the school does not consider that a reasonable alternative to the grade requirements we have in place. We need a formal, measurable means of assessing students' fitness for AP courses, and the only one we accept is summer school.
Parent: That's ridiculous.
Me: Well, ridiculous or not, that's the standard the school requires. Our program is rigorous, and we make no apologies for that. It's actually one of our selling points and one of the reasons our graduates are so successful when they get to college.
Parent: It hardly matters if they don't get into college in the first place.
Me: Our students get into some very good colleges.
Parent: The colleges that are acceptable to our family will probably require AP courses.
Me: Those colleges generally don't admit students with B-standing in those courses.
Parent: James is going to work much harder next year. We have discussed this as a family, and he understands the gravity of senior year.
Me: Then why didn't he work for the A this year?
Parent: He's a kid. He's immature. But he's grown up a lot this year. Plus... no offense... but maybe if you'd offered a little more support and encouragement, he might have done better.
Me: His B in Pre-Calc is my fault?
Parent: I'm not saying that. I'm saying you know his goals for the future. You're his counselor. Were you checking in with him when he was getting B and C grades on tests? Were you making sure he was accessing extra help from the teacher?
Me: Sorry, but my job is to advise. I have over 130 students on my caseload. I can't track all their results in real time and call them all in every time they get a B rather than an A. This is high school. The students need to take some ownership here.
Parent: I understand that, but you know they're kids. They sometimes need more hand holding. In any case, who can I talk to about this? I feel very strongly that James should be in AP Calculus next year.

Well, I feel very strongly that I'd like to end this phone call right now and block your number.

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