Stupid “You should be doing more” arguments from people who aren’t

On the NYTimes or forums or blogs etc, a common refrain among commenters when the subject of fertility treatment comes up is that there are so many kids in the world (and so many kids in the US) that people should really be adopting.  And they should really be adopting in the US (because apparently international children are not as important as US children).  [They seem to think that adopting kids is as easy as calling an orphanage and having Anne of Green Gables sent on the next train.  The reality, of course, being that adoption can be as heart-breaking and uncertain a process as infertility itself, even in states with supposedly easy adoption and quick termination of parental rights.  (We have some friends who tried and failed adoption when a biological aunt came out of the woodwork.)]

Even people that are supposedly skeptical and critical thinkers can fall into stupid fallacies.  For example, PZ Meyers is very vocal that people who homeschool their kids are selfish assholes equal in their danger to society to people who refuse to vaccinate their kids.  He says:

I am not a fan of homeschooling; in fact, if I had my way, I’d make it illegal.

and

If you don’t believe in vaccination, then don’t vaccinate your kids.

Sorry, but the same logic applies. Public schools are for the good of the community; homeschooling is intended for the good of the individual child.  I know that homeschools can be good (but most aren’t), and that public schools can be awful (and most are), but I consider homeschooling to be a distraction from the cause of a greater good.

he goes on from there in the comments, basically arguing that if you keep your kids out of (bad) public schools that hurts all the kids still in public schools, mainly because the school doesn’t get the federal money for the kid being there (partly because he says parents have some kind of obligation to be involved), despite perfectly logical arguments responding to his own (such as:  I homeschool because my child is autistic/requires other special accommodations– he would be costing the district much more than he brings the district in per-student federal funds and isn’t mainstreamed anyway… or, My kid was hospitalized after getting beaten up/bullied to the point of self-harm and the school did nothing… or simply, I pay taxes but am not costing my district anything).

All you holier-than-thou folks on the internet: It’s easy to volunteer other people to be saints.  Not so easy to be one yourself.  If you don’t have 20 foster kids and 10 adoptees, then don’t tell people using fertility treatment there are tons of needy kids out there needing homes and that they’re sinners for trying to have a baby instead of adopting one.  Bless people who do foster and adopt, but if you’re not one of them, then why are you telling other people that they should do more than you are?

If you don’t have your own kids in dangerous crumbling schools (because you decided to live in a more expensive district, your kids are grown, or you just don’t have kids), and you’re not volunteering regularly and donating heavily, at least the amount that the federal government would be giving* for say, I dunno, 5 kids, then don’t say that parents who pull their kids out of public schools for private or homeschooling are selfish.  You’re even more selfish because you have more time and money to give, and you wouldn’t be physically, mentally, or emotionally scarring any minors as collateral damage.**

These “you want/have a child you should be doing X” are all stupid arguments.  No one person can save the world.  And nobody, just by dint of being unable to easily have biological children or by having children should be required to contribute to those specific causes.  Nobody is actually required to contribute to any specific cause.  But if someone chooses to put their kids in private school and also donates to people starving in developing countries rather than joining the school board at the local public,*** does that make them selfish?  What about public school teachers who send their own kids to private?

These kinds of arguments seem to be focused on fertility, race, and gender.  If you have kids then you’re supposed to support specific causes.  If you want kids but can’t have them, then that must be a sign from God that you’re supposed to adopt (but people who can have kids easily have no such obligation).  If you’re a black college grad, then you’re selling out your race if you’d rather be an investment banker than a high school teacher (this is a narrative that two of my black studies colleagues frequently argue about).  If you’re female then you have to have a certain kind of active feminism and aren’t allowed to make choices to be the trailing spouse or the one who cooks dinner, even if your husband is allowed to make those choices.  Why do these immutable characteristics (it’s hard to give a kid back), many of which we have no choice over, provide such obligations when others do not?  Owning a pet doesn’t make you have to support spay and neuter laws or pose nude for PETA.  Being a white male provides no obligation to any race or gender.  And yet, when historically you’ve been chattel, all of a sudden you have an obligation to change the world.  IBTP.

*~8% of the school’s budget… meaning that actually your paying state and local taxes without costing the local district to educate your kid (at a cost of ~10K/year to the district) is probably more than making up for not having your kid in school.  And if you kick an additional $800/kid-you-don’t-have to the school district, you should be able to say STFU to any guilt-mongers.  Me, I prefer to spend my education charity dollars in high poverty districts using Donors Choose because they need my money more than the local school district does.  If our district had less money they wouldn’t fricking change districts every 5 years because they wouldn’t be able to afford to bus kids to schools so far from where they live.

**Before having kids the one of us with a kid volunteered extensively tutoring and teaching math in failing urban school districts and at migrant summer programs in rural agricultural areas.  There’s a lot more time to volunteer when you don’t have a small child.

***After years on the school board, and while still on the school board, my mother sent my sister to a Catholic high school.  Does that make her selfish?  She continued on the school board after my sister graduated as well, even though she no longer had kids in school.  Her research career suffered substantially from her public service.

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25 Responses to “Stupid “You should be doing more” arguments from people who aren’t”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    I have an adopted relative that was adopted as an infant. This person is an absolute train wreck as an adult. (Has been on public assistance her whole life, lost custody of her first child because of neglect, committed fraud, went bankrupt, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg). All the other non adopted siblings that were raised under the same roof are hard working contributing members of society. When she started cosigning loans by forging her siblings and cousin’s signatures on documents she also sucked in her extended family into her mess of a life too.

    When you adopt, you have no idea what you’re going to get. At least with biological children, you already have a pretty good idea of the character flaws or physical problems your kids may inherit from you or your spouse. As another relative said..”I’ll gamble with my own genes before I would with some unknown person that gave up their kid for adoption.” This person also said that if they couldn’t have children naturally, they would rather be childless vs adopting. For him, it’s been that bad of an experience.

    The family adopted because the dad grew up in an orphanage and wanted to provide a home for another child once he had the means to do so. Just before he died he ended up admitting that adopting was a mistake and he felt sorry that he was responsible for putting his family through all the chaos this one person caused. Today, the formally neglected grandkid is a teen and is being raised by the grandmother who is in her 70′s. He is starting to repeat the same patterns as his mom did all over again. We are still hoping for the best, but I’m scared for the grandmother and the teen. I just want him to have a happy productive life but I’m afraid nature might kick nurture’s ass in this case. Although I know plenty of adopted adults and children who are great, I couldn’t do it. I do a lot in my community, but I just don’t have what it takes to take on that kind of risk to my home life til the end of my days. The people who do are saints and I have unending admiration for their spirit and perseverance.

    I’m probably going to get a lot of flack for the brutal honesty of this comment, but I don’t think most people know what they are asking when they nonchalantly tell another person they should adopt a child.

    • chacha1 Says:

      Most people don’t understand what they are talking about, period, when it comes to the genetic crapshoot that is adding ANY child to any household. You could have natural identical twins, one will grow up to be a saint and the other will be a serial killer (extreme scenario). Just because a kid is adopted doesn’t make it more or less of a risk to a household than a child of the body.

      The genetic crapshoot is a huge part of why I didn’t want to ever be pregnant. I don’t want to adopt, foster, or be a Big Sister. And I feel no obligation to support those programs or to give extra money (on top of my taxes) to my school district.

      I also don’t tell anybody else what they should do with THEIR body, or their child-rearing desires, or their extra dollars. Even though I think that people should have to pass a lot more tests to get a reproduction license than they do to get a driving license. It’s really none of my business.

      I’ll tell people what they should do about their plantar fasciitis, but only if they ask.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Preach on, yo. Thanks for this great and thoughtful reply.

        (disclosure: I have several adopted cousins who are great, and never caused any more problems than the biological ones!)

  2. Cloud Says:

    This is an interesting post, because it (along with your earlier posts on education) has clarified my thinking on the subject.

    I completely agree that no one has more obligation to do something about a particular problem than anyone else (unless, I suppose they personally and directly helped cause the problem).

    I think that everyone has an obligation to SEE the problems. We’ll often disagree on their solutions, and not everyone will have the resources (time, money, patience) to implement even the solutions they prefer- but we should all try to keep our eyes and minds open to actually seeing the problems that exist in our world.

    I don’t hold anyone more accountable for this than anyone else, but I am more frustrated/perplexed when someone has done something that should make the problem obvious, and still persists in denying said problem. The most frequent example I see of this is someone who looks at public schools, decides they are inadequate for his/her child, and then refuses to acknowledge a problem that society needs to solve. So, by that logic, I actually prefer your Mom’s approach- putting her kids where they need to be, but then joining the school board is great, in my book.

    I’m sure there are other examples (having kids and then failing to realize what a difficult thing parenthood can be?) but I need to get ready for work, so I’ll leave it there.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      The public schools here (in town) are perfectly adequate for most kids. Just not kids on either tail. And maybe that’s not a problem. Maybe it is. My home state has MUCH better special ed programs (many would argue, *too* good), but I’m not going to push for that in this state. There are both costs and benefits to instituting better special ed programs and this state has decided that anything other than the majority is not really what they care about. Who am I to say that the majority is wrong in this instance? Who am I to say that they should expend resources on kids like mine that they see maybe once every 10 years (perhaps a little more given the R1 nature of the town– but professors kids can afford private school)?

      I have several colleagues whose life work is how to fix education. There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people in my field, many of them way more intelligent and hard-working than I am (many of them childless!), working on the systemic problems of the US education system. There’s nothing I’m going to be able to do to fix the system. All I can do is help individual people and individual situations. That’s why I give money to places like donors choose.

      But I also know a lot about poverty in developing countries. I know people are dying from starvation, disease, childbirth. People are ostracized, raped, tortured. There are a LOT of causes out there that I know about. I cannot help every single cause. Perhaps Jesus would say that it is my moral obligation to give up all my worldly possessions and do what I can, but only people like Jesus, who have actually made those choices themselves, have that right.

      • Cloud Says:

        But see, we don’t disagree. Because all I want is for you to recognize that there might be a problem, and you do.

        I’m thinking more of some of the parents at my day care, who would never dream of sending their kid to public school- because their kid is smart, you see (and I’m not talking way out on the tail, I’m talking maybe one sigma above average). As if smart kids only happen in families that can afford private school. That drives me bat shit crazy.

        People like you? No, you’re fine.

      • Cloud Says:

        And to be 100% clear- I don’t think people have to try to fix every problem they recognize. There are a whole slew of problems I recognize and do nothing to fix, and another handful for which my only contribution towards a solution is a donation to a charity.

        I just think that we should all try to see the problems that are there. It feels like adding insult to injury to have a group of people suffering through a problem that other people get to just say doesn’t exist.

        To stick with my education example, the people who claim that we live in a straight meritocracy, and that everyone has an equal chance of success, while at the same time saying they could never put their kids in a public school because they are no good for smart kids… well, hypocrite is the nicest word I have for that. (And socially awkward, since they will say this to me after I have said that I’m probably putting my child in a public school. Do they perhaps think my kids is dumb?) I don’t care if they put their kid in a private school. More power to them. But if the only way they think a smart kid can get a good education is in a private school, and they clearly think education matters since they are willing to pay >$20k/year for said private school…. then we are not living in a strict meritocracy and everyone most certainly does not have an equal chance at success.

        Again, this is not anyone’s special problem to fix, and I fully support people finding the solutions for their kids that will work in the system we have now. But I don’t support exemptions from logic and this willful blindness to the problem makes me crazy.

  3. Grace Says:

    You knew I would weigh in on this, didn’t you? I have five adopted children, all of whom came from the foster care system and at least one of whom fits the description of First Gen’s relative. Adoption not being easy, either in the process or in the actual doing. Nurture is important, but nature carries a lot more sway than most of us adoptive parents want to admit. People who feel like First Gen should not adopt. People who want to adopt, like her relatives, should get a lot more preparation and post-adoption support than is often available. The point is that it is a highly personal decision that must be made individually after a lot of research and forethought. (Personally, I thought there were enough overly educated, chubby white ladies in the gene pool already, so I wasn’t looking to rear a ‘little me.’) I am sorry that her relatives thought adoption was a mistake because the child did not become a functional adult–they DID provide a needy child with a home and a family; Sometimes that’s all you can do. Plenty of bio families have a ‘black sheep’ child, too.

    I feel the same way about fertility treatments–if what you want is a baby that has genetics in common with you and/or your spouse, then go for it. If you didn’t ask for my advice in the first place, you don’t need me giving it to you now. Some things were never meant to be group decisions!

    I’m a tad more ambivalent about public schools–it’s not that I dislike private schools (which I used for one of my kids) or home schooling (I never did that because there would have been blood on the floor!) , but too many folks I know who use one or the other ALSO vote down public school levys. That frys me.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      If you told me I should foster instead of fertility treatments, I would take it! (Wouldn’t change my mind– adoption was a possibility, but a much longer term one, and not until after we’d recovered from dealing with the stress of infertility– but wouldn’t be annoyed either. At least you’d be putting your money where your mouth is.)

  4. becca Says:

    I’m getting a serious deja vu with this post.

    Anyway, part of what you said makes a lot of sense. It’s not necessarily a wise investment of public funds to structure the school systems so that they are always prepared for the type of kid they only have once a decade.

    At the same time, to me it seems distinctly… suboptimal* that the only kids with once in a decade intelligence that get a decent education are the ones with parents like you.

    *by “suboptimal” I mean “heinously unfair”

    I’m afraid that no matter how I try to listen to educational experts (many of whom are much smarter and have been studying this much more carefully than me), I simply cannot shake my impressions formed in the homeschooling environment. It seems to me so obvious that so many of the changes that benefit smart kids (or other kids that are a challenge in a standard classroom) seem to benefit everyone so much, I cannot understand why anyone wouldn’t advocate for them.
    Well, OK. I can see one reason not to advocate for them. It’s not always fun to put forth the argument “the schools try to do a good job (and I really have nothing but admiration for most teachers), but the whole structure is dismal. They specialize in training excellent factory workers and making kids miserable. The whole prevailing premise about learning is wrong- learning is the most natural thing in the world and it doesn’t need to be forced/drilled/coerced or standardized tested into kids”. It’s a lot more go-with-the-flow to say something like “the schools try to do a good job, and in many cases (including my local schools) they do, for most kids. Some kids just have unusual needs. Don’t hate me because my kid is (statistically) bizarre”. But it seems to me that leaves a heck of a lot of kids like your kid, but without you as their parent, in the lurch.

    Maybe I’m totally off base. Maybe you really see the schools as excellent, nurturing, wonderful, stimulating, intelligence and joy for life-affirming places that you want your kid to be in, it just wouldn’t work out. But if not… maybe there is a place for advocacy, somewhere on your list of causes.

    • Cloud Says:

      I agree, the other kids are in the lurch,and that is terribly unfair.

      But I think the original point is why should the fact that Nicoleandmaggie happened to have a statistical outlier for a kid make it her job to fix the whole system? And I agree with that, too. We can all only do so much, and we get to prioritize our own “so much”, I think.

      FWIW, I think the public schools we’re looking at for my kid (who is smart but probably not as far along the tail as Nicoleandmaggie’s kid) are indeed good schools that will help her learn things and not crush the joy out of her. If I thought otherwise, we’d be making a different decision. But of course, I have options available that Nicoleandmaggie do not have, and my state’s baseline curriculum is different from hers. However, I suspect my “so much” is going to end up including some educational advocacy, or at least money giving, because my worst case scenario (we end up in our neighborhood school) is other people’s best case scenario (they’re trying to choice into our school, because their neighborhood school doesn’t have as many resources… because PTAs are filling in the gaps after all the budget cuts and my neighborhood includes a fair number of people with money).

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        FWIW, we would LOVE to have our kid in public schools, but they won’t let us put hir there! Won’t even discuss it until ze is in 2nd grade. Apparently that’s somewhat common around here (and why only 2 kids in DC’s class are of school age). So this year we’re not destroying anything because ze would still be in daycare (and a PITA to deal with at home instead of an angel) if the public schools had their way. It’s next year when we’re paying for 1st grade (accelerated half the day to second) that we’ll be “bad guys”. Right now it’s more theoretical. We may very well be back to being the good guys, in the second worst elementary in town, even, a year after that, if the school is willing to talk to us. The district starts allowing grade skips and single-subject acceleration formally in middle school.

        Also… private schools max out at 8K for kindergarten in this town and there are several options that are as low as 3K (not even including the financial aid) so long as you don’t mind parochial. So not quite the same situation as SoCal, though in SoCal, as Cloud said, there are also a lot more options for kids who are different because there’s more population to support those options. (Also, as she points out, until this year ze would actually be in K if ze were in California rather than this state with a curriculum similar to what ze is getting in first grade… but that’s a change that would have to be made at the state level and one that would be very unpopular with the majority of the parents here who do not think it’s right for kindergartners or 4 year olds to be reading. Who am I to say they’re wrong?)

        The town next to ours is also supposed to be a lot better with outliers, but not as good at the average. We just didn’t happen to buy a house there.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      You and I may value children reaching their full academic potential over assimilation, but there are many parents who value the opposite. Who are we to say what’s best for their children? I get annoyed when they suggest, politely and in a sideways fashion, that I’m going to make my child weird (and, implied, that being weird is the worst fate in the world that could befall a child). No doubt they would get annoyed with me trying to interfere with their children.

  5. becca Says:

    I don’t believe anyone has a special obligation to reform the whole system, but I do think there is a collective responsibility to oppose the sub-optimal aspects of the system.

    I think as long as you’ve asked the public school to meet your kid’s needs, and been quite explicit about what they do that is not going to be acceptable for your kid, and given them any plausible help you can that is not unduly demanding on your own resources, you’ve done everything you remotely ‘should’ do. Well, that and give them a try if later in your life your DC wants to.

    As an aside- people raising their kids to think “weird is bad” is not just a perfectly defensible form of exercising the responsibility of parents to make whatever choices they think are best for their kids. It really can be more like vaccination in terms of ripple effects- except of babies dead from measles, you get tweens dead from suicide over bullying because of perceived sexual orientation/gender identity.
    The public schools are, for better or for worse, where a certain amount over wrangling of values will inevitably take place. Taking a stand for what type of environment they should be is not the same as a busybody telling you how you are molding your kid into something unsavory.

    P.S. saying “as low as 3k” isn’t quite on the order of “they hardly pay me anything for speaking”, but it’s not exactly in touch with all of your readers. Just sayin.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That’s 3K WITHOUT FINANCIAL AID. Most of these places offer financial aid based on income. Especially for church members. (There’s a lot of tithing out here– I often wonder if school tuition could count as tithing– you give 3K to the church and they give 3K, which is 10% of their income, in tuition waivers.) And it’s greatly different from 27K or 40K that it costs in CA. Also, if both parents work, daycare is 5-8K/year. And we know a single mom daycare teacher who is sending both her kids to one of these private schools in town– so no, not out of reach once financial aid is factored in (though she says she can’t afford our school, which is the 2nd most expensive in town… but the amazing K teacher who left our school, taking a bunch of students with her, is at this particular school now and so is the kid of one of my colleagues). She doesn’t like the religion but she loves the academics at that school (our school also would likely not be a good fit because Miss K is very anti-worksheet etc. and our school is heavily pro-worksheet). This is after a fiasco at the local charter where her son’s K teacher quit and then trying to send her kids to her local public in the town next to ours which was a disaster and a half. If being bright is bad, being bright and a racial minority can be even more difficult.

      The public schools won’t talk to us. They won’t talk to any parent who wants to push on the deadline for being 5. We hear from other parents that they start listening in 2nd grade. We also have an in with a teacher in the system– she said she could help us get in contact and get the right testing that the district will pay for if our private school does go out of business, but we didn’t think of that last year, and we didn’t have half a year’s worth of evidence that accelerating would work so well last year either.

      If you decide to accelerate your kid and if this information gets out through cross-examination from strangers, say, at the airport, then the conversation invariably goes like this: “I redshirted my kid, best decision I ever made, she’s so popular and she gets straight As. There’s a kid in her class who is younger and he’s just WEIRD. Just as a warning, maybe it doesn’t matter so much now, but when ze gets to the high school level kids who skip just end up weird.” You will also get this argument many times should you post about it on your blog (“I know a kid who skipped and he was socially ostracized”). What I said to the woman in the airport was that the kid probably would have been weird even if he hadn’t been skipped (‘cuz I teach statistics). But what I should have said (and I did not think about this until later that night– it was a very long day with over 12 hours spent at the airport in delayed flights at that point, so I was a bit punch drunk and just happy I hadn’t thrown up yet– that waited until I finally got home 2 hours later), was that maybe there isn’t anything wrong with being weird (maybe even, “Bill Gates was weird”). But then I’m sure she would have pulled out examples. I think we got some anecdotal examples recently here about some kid being skipped and he was a sociopath and mean to his brother… as if that had anything to do with acceleration. People really don’t get counterfactuals– that correlation is not causation.

  6. becca Says:

    My general impression is that financial aid for K-12 seems to mostly end up making things more affordable for families who have a SES a notch lower than the rest of the school. That is, if your school is mostly upper-middle class people and costs 27k/year, you might offer 13k off in financial aid… which is maybe enough so that a middle-middle class person (say family income of 50k) can go, but not nearly enough so that a family at the poverty line (19k/year) is going to be able to think about it. It’s not like there’s Pell grants to take care of the bottom when it comes to K-12. I mean, you yourself have seen the problems privates can have with funding- they just don’t have the money for real free rides, in many cases.

    And yeah. “cheaper than daycare” doesn’t mean much if you are talking to someone who needs a state subsidy to help pay for daycare (because, again, no assistance for K-12).

    But if you are using the ‘low’ cost of parochial school to assume that even poor kids have options where you live, I see why you are not very concerned about trying to convince the schools there is an issue with how they operate. It doesn’t seem persuasive to me, but I am coming at things from a very different perspective.
    For that matter, I’m pretty anti-worksheet, and given that you thought a lower cost parochial school was an example of ‘better than the public schools’, I am beginning to get an inkling your idea of “quality education” is as different from mine as your idea of “affordable” is from mine. (NB: some of the lower cost parochial schools in the area I grew up were spectacularly twisted socialization environments, and not nearly shining enough educationally to make up for that, so that has likely warped my impression of them)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      One of DC’s daycare teachers who is a single mom sends her two kids to a private school in town. She is by no means wealthy. No, I do not know what they offer in financial aid, just that private school is not out of reach at some of the religious schools in town even for the very low income. I recently (yesterday) found out that our private school offers full rides for some kids, though of course that only helps those who fit the terms of the scholarship.

      Also I think you are taking what I said out of context– I was making a comparison to Southern California. I said nothing about “even poor kids have options where I live” just that there are more private options than Southern California even though there are far fewer public options. I think you’re kind of trying to be a bitch about money, trying to paint me like Mitt Romney, when in fact I was not making these larger statements that you are accusing me of. And if you think our state offers subsidies for daycare, or any kind of paid leave for childbearing, you’re insane… or privileged enough to be living in a blue state. Daycare is a reality for the working poor.

      I don’t really care what your idea of a “quality education” is. I have goals for my kid which involve hir not being miserable, not being a perfectionist, and sleeping at night. Hir current school is fitting those, even though OMG ze has spelling tests and math worksheets. Montessori was fitting it too until they ran out of stuff for hir to do. Ze is pretty flexible with or without the worksheets. IMO worksheets are pretty irrelevant one way or the other. They’re just a tool that can be used appropriately or misused.

      I don’t know if the lower cost school is better quality or not, but the Montessori teacher who sends her kids there thinks it is. Of course, she lives in the town next to ours that has worse quality schools, and her kids were treated horribly in the two publics they tried, so her baseline is different. She likes the way they don’t have worksheets and they do a lot of experiments and creative activities (plays for history etc.) She doesn’t like the way most of the other moms are SAHM and have a ton of time to put into the school, though that’s probably part of the reason for the lower costs. My colleague’s wife also thinks it is better quality than the local public, but her kid is in K so she’s got the town’s (reportedly) best kindergarten teacher– how could it not be?

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Also: What are YOU doing for kids education?

        We’ve given generously of time and money ever since we were in high school. Time when we had no money and money now that we have no time. What are you doing? Are you tutoring in inner city schools so that kids get a chance to learn math? Are you teaching math and English to kids of migrant workers and making sure that the smart girls who were overlooked take the algebra class they belong in rather than another year of pre-algebra? Are you doing college prep for first generation kids? Are you doing pull-out gifted classes for fourth graders in a school where everybody knows at least one person who died by bullet fire? Are you putting anybody through college or private school?

        I suspect you’re not doing anything. And yet, you’re telling ME that I’m out of touch? That I’m not doing enough for other kids? Read the headline of the post.

      • becca Says:

        Being a bitch on the internet is what beccas do best. But that’s not what I was going for here.

        I think you did actually do what I said would be ideal- ask the schools for a specific action and tell them why. But from this exchange it almost seems like you never even asked the school for what you wanted, because you were so convinced they wouldn’t give it to you. My view is that sometimes some of us (maybe especially people with a “Midwest Opposition to Whining”?) need to be encouraged from time to time to actually speak up. It’s not like you would be most effective going in there saying “your curriculum sucks for intelligent students and you need to change it. you are dooming these kids to a life of mediocrity, and I will keep my kid away from your pernicious sickness!!!11!!”… it’s just going there with your Mom Advocacy hat on and saying “this is what my reading of the literature suggests is best for the type of student my child is. If you can’t accommodate that, I can understand, but you may want to think about how you could be more flexible, because not all students will have as many options as my kid”.
        Acceleration is sometimes difficult to do right, but it’s not an insanely expensive thing. The school district *could* easily be better for other kids. But they might not see the need to do so without people like you nudging them (especially if the prevailing culture is as anti-weird-smart kid as you suggest).
        This isn’t about “you aren’t doing enough” this is about recognizing a problem exists for other kids and choosing to do what you’d do normally (advocate for your child) in a way that might indirectly help the other problem.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I think perhaps you should spend some time in public schools (and not just the one you left as a child) before you act like an expert on them. The things you’re saying clearly show that you do not have the slightest clue how nuanced and complicated these issues are and how OMG, there isn’t one right solution. If there was, we’d probably be doing it.

        Also you are not an expert for other people’s kids. Neither am I.

        It would be one thing if I were trying to change things in a way that people wanted– say, teaching math to kids who don’t know math. Or giving advantages to smart kids who want them by providing an opportunity that they didn’t have before either in terms of pull-out or scholarship or summer classes (all of which, btw, I have DONE, but you have not). But I don’t want YOU to impose YOUR values on MY kids and I don’t want to impose MY values on other people’s kids. They don’t want that either, and that is their right.

        And, I ask again, what the hell are you doing to make everything better? NOTHING. So stop being so holier than thou. When you get your magic wand and fix everything then you have the right to say something, but until then, no.

  7. femmefrugality Says:

    All I can say is AMEN.

  8. og Says:

    Are Becca and N&M arguing? I don’t see why..both have good points, no??

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