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Angelo Angelo is offline
 
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Wow! Interesting Times
Old 08-09-2019, 08:49 AM
 
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So I got a weird e-mail this morning from one of these "educational consultants" retained by the parents of one of my students (I'm his Academic Counselor). The consultant attached a pdf of a signed agreement with the family basically indicating that he could contact the school on their behalf. I know some of our families have hired these guys before, but I don't think I've been asked to "coordinate my efforts" with one before. In light of recent events, I'm immediately on my guard for anything unethical or possibly illegal.

We've had practical problems with some of these guys in the past. Specifically, some consultants give families terrible advice or build up unrealistic expectations (Oh, absolutely! He should totally be able to get into Yale no problem with these scores!). When it doesn't work out, the parents generally get angry at the school, and not the consultant, so we have to be very careful to document every instance when parents ignore our advice and go with the consultant. Sometimes consultants encourage parents to make unreasonable demands. For example, last year, a consultant told a family that the student didn't have enough "leadership experience" in his profile. He, the consultant, told the family to contact the school (i.e. me) and ask that we find leadership opportunities for the student. "Our consultant says something with President or Vice President in the title would be ideal." The trouble is that it was well into the fall and the student had not applied or run for any of the top student leadership roles. The consultant evidently gave the parents the idea that "the school" should simply create some additional leadership position and plunk the student into it. And... no.

So back to the present. This new consultant boldly announces that he wishes to "review all materials to be submitted on the student's behalf before they are uploaded." Did I read that right? Yup. He clarifies that he wants all letters of reference and transcripts sent to him for review before they are sent to Common App. Seriously? Letters of reference are confidential, and there's no way in hell I'm showing mine to some guy the parents have paid. And what does he think he's going to do with the transcript? Those are final grades. Does he think we're going to change them? He goes on to ask for a list of all of Junior's teachers for the upcoming year, "preferably with phone and e-mail contact info." In the first place, timetables aren't final yet, and certainly aren't being released at this stage. The consultant claims he needs direct access to the teachers to "initiate a dialog about Junior's goals and aspirations" and to "make sure Junior stays on track to meet them." In other words, he plans to lobby and pester teachers for higher grades. I'm certainly not going to provide said contact information, but he can probably acquire it himself by perusing the school's directory once Junior gets his timetable.

Man... what a time to be alive. And... in case anyone asks, I did not respond to the e-mail


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Wow!
Old 08-09-2019, 10:15 AM
 
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Having taught my entire career of 37 years in a Title 1 high needs district, I can't even imagine the unmitigated gall of some of the parents you deal with on a daily basis. This incredibly demanding "consultant" sounds like a total bully to me.
I think you are right to be very cautious, and I was delighted when I read that you ignored his ridiculous email. I have no doubt rules and ethical considerations are for other people, not for him or those he represents! Ugh.
He's putting you on notice that "Junior" better get perfect grades or the consultant will make you and his teachers' lives miserable via endless harassment.

PS. I wish you'd write a book. It would be a great reality check!
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Old 08-09-2019, 10:18 AM
 
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It might be helpful for your school to adopt an official policy reiterating that reference letters are confidential and are to be directly submitted to the requesting school or organization, not to student, family, or third party.
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Never a dull moment...
Old 08-09-2019, 10:27 AM
 
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For this recent nonsense, I think this is under the category of "not my problem" It is about school policies and the laws of confidentiality. Let the administrator handle it. Remember that great message you can set on your email..Out of Office!
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Just Wow!
Old 08-09-2019, 11:31 AM
 
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You have experiences most of us cannot relate. Many of us do not ever hear from parents under any circumstances.


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Old 08-09-2019, 12:20 PM
 
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Sounds like parents are hiring someone to take over their parenting job, but in a more aggressive manor.
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Old 08-09-2019, 12:37 PM
 
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Great suggestions from everyone, and I have nothing to add.

You mentioned the student from last year who "needed" leadership experience, and I remember when you posted that. Did he ever get the
president or vice president title of any student organization?
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Old 08-09-2019, 02:11 PM
 
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You know by not responding to his email, he's going to tell the parents that you're most uncooperative and they'll bug the life out of you. I'd send him a brief email acknowledging receipt of his email and tell him to have a nice day. I wouldn't bother arguing or explaining anything....
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Old 08-09-2019, 02:46 PM
 
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I am always flabbergasted at your posts, but hang on every word! Just shocking how some people act. It'll be interesting to see what his follow-up email will be (or should I say emails), because we all know there will be follow-up.
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Old 08-09-2019, 06:37 PM
 
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It sounds like junior could compile all of the requested information and pass it along to his "consultant". Now would be a good time for junior to start taking care of himself. If the kid can't do that he'll be living in his parent's basement for the rest of his life.


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Old 08-09-2019, 07:57 PM
 
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I have to be honest, every time I see you have a new post I get a little excited. I love reading your stories about these delusional parents.

I didnít even know educational consultants were a thing.
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Old 08-09-2019, 08:17 PM
 
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Sounds like a family I had my first year of teaching. The family hired an advocate to "help" them deal with the school district. Family had all 4 of their children classified as "special needs" so the district had to provide them with busing; they literally lived down the street from the middle school where I worked and three blocks away from the elementary school where the younger two children attended. Their eldest son would stay up at night playing violent video games until he fell asleep on the floor in front of the television.

Every teacher at this school taught 6 classes, had one period of "duty" typically a study hall, one period of planning, and one period of duty free lunch. I taught one period of "computer applications" because the computer teacher had to go to the other middle school in the afternoon.

It was decided in the afternoon when I taught my one period of computer applications that I would also teach the game player student computer programming. Only thing is I don't anything about computer programming. However, the Internet and the World Wide Web were becoming popular so I bought a book and taught him how to make web pages. The parents and their advocate thought they had the next Bill Gates and the family would be rich beyond their wildest dreams.
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Wow!
Old 08-09-2019, 10:55 PM
 
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Your stories never cease to amaze me. I remember when you wrote about the parents who wanted you to create leadership opportunities for their kid.
I wonder how many of your parents have paid bribes to get their kids into their school of choice over the yrs.
Crazy adults do not have a clue the damage they are doing to their kids.
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Old 08-10-2019, 01:35 AM
 
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Yeah, I think this is a Rick Singer type consultant. The parents have found someone who's gonna whip this school into shape and get the kid exactly what he needs in order to get into Ivy League U...except that it isn't going to work. I like PPs' suggestions: Forward the email to admin and have them respond. The response should say that Student is responsible for collecting any info the consultant needs, including but not limited to homework, test papers, report cards, and providing it to the consultant, and that all reference letters are confidential and are mailed directly to the recipients. You know, of course, that this isn't going to stop them. You'll also need to warn all of Student's teachers that this guy will be bugging them from the get-go...
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Old 08-10-2019, 03:24 AM
 
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I don't know how you deal with these wackadoodles! I agree that it should probably be forwarded to your administrator and let them deal with it.

Even if all this pestering does by some miracle get snowflake Junior into Yale or some other Ivy League, what happens once they get there? Does the kid suddenly get ambition and the ability to handle the classes/ do the work??? Talk about clueless people!
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There actually are real
Old 08-10-2019, 05:33 AM
 
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educational consultants. Their job is to make sure the parents and the student know the dynamics of how the student learns best and gives the student some strategies and techniques to use in the classroom and at home to aid his/her learning. If the student has an IEP they make sure the parents and the student understand it. The educational consultant will also help the student when they are in middle or high school learn how to advocate for themselves. They do not ask for special privileges but small things like permission to record lectures, have a seat near the front, etc. The educational consultant also helps the student to face the reality that they can learn the material but it will take different strategies, more effort and more time. The consultant encourages the student to put in maximum effort.
That is what professional educational consultants do. What you seem to be dealing with is a professional bully who advocates privilege over performance. This will not end well for the student.
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Old 08-10-2019, 05:36 AM
 
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Your posts are always entertaining! I would forward the email to admin so they are aware. You could just respond to the email stating you received it. The parents must be paying a lot of money for this. You need to keep us posted.
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Wonderful!
Old 08-10-2019, 06:47 AM
 
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The family hired an official PITA.

I live in an affluent area. Unfortunately, I am not. I see cards and flyers for these types of fools everywhere.

They are like your kid having a personal executive secretary. If your kid "bombs" the SAT/ACT, they figure out camps and classes to beef up the score. They "look over" college essays. The PITAs tell you which classes your kids should take, and which teachers to avoid (don't want that GPA dropping). What are the best clubs and activities to beef up the transcript.


Some people get the educational PITA and a sports PITA. The sports PITA will look at schools with sports scholarships, suggest tune up camps. I'm picking baseball, because I knew a parent that used one. It's almost like hiring an agent. He suggested his son take conditioning classes, and "training camp" with different people who are a known quantity various university coaches. There is nothing illegal about training camps and conditioning classes. Anyone with deep pocket can take them. If it keeps the kid from injury, it's an good thing. But if the coach from U of Mich sees your kid during the three years from sophomore to senior, that's some decent access. Most people fire up the consults during sophomore year and keep them on until the kid graduates.

It's about having the money and the supposed inside scoop. The ones in my area creepily know about the school. That chemistry teacher is hard. This music teacher plays favorites, and you'd get more bang for your buck having Buffy doing community orchestra. Forensic is okay, but Habitat for Humanity (especially if you get a leadership roll) allegedly looks better on the transcripts.

Angelo, my DK goes to a public school, which has pretty strict rules about what a PITA can do. There is a rule that they can't show up for parent/teacher conferences. Yours will try and bull doze because you are an private school, and since parents pay $$$$, you pay for what you want.

Life is unfair. Barron Trump* will never sweat access. The kids in my area have it miles ahead in the university sweepstakes game because their parents have been to college or can pay for PITA to semi grease those skids. The kids in lower socioeconomic areas need an angel to have a shot.

Good luck, and I hope your school shuts this maniac down.

*not picking on Barron, I could have used Obama's daughters as an example. An Olympian from the Russian Federation gymnastic team will get a hard look see from UCLA, than level 10 Buffy from a small club in Metro Detroit.
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