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Outgoing Cambridge principal explodes over 'loud and entitled' white parents whining to the School Committee

Cambridge Day reports what started out as a quiet update by the principals of the city's upper-grade schools to the School Committee escalated quickly when one of the principals finished a prepared report, then launched into an attack on both the School Committee and the parents he said had constantly tried to undercut him by always running to the School Committee.

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resume jackass.

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Yeah, because a school committee isn't designed to take feedback from parents. You'd think it was a form of representative democracy or something! And a principal needing to explain himself, reprehensible!

He can work for Boston with a selected school committee, instead. Not that I care if Boston school committee is elected or not, but he would still get an earful from parents' councils, I'd guess.

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Not clear that representative democracies do a very good job of running school systems. Virtually all of the worst schools in the country (you can pick your own metric) are public, the best private.

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I take it that you have never worked at a private school. 100x worse with the "I'm paying for .... " parents.

Oh, and I'd love to see your statistics, BTW ... with statistical control for parental income per standard practice with educational metrics.

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I disagree Swirly. At least with Parochial schools, the parents are part of the school Parents are required to perform so many hours volunteering in different aspects of the school.

In my experience, it proves the opposite. Parents then become part of the school, working with teachers, administrators and the principal. We learned many aspects of what it takes to run the school. It actually brings parents closer to the students and teachers in the school environment.

Its a better appreciation. In all my years in that environment, I never once heard a parent conduct themselves as you seem to think.

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If you want your kid to learn the curricula and be able to go to even a two-year college program, public is the way to go. Hands down.

In our area, many parents have been switching their kids back into the public schools because of the things that led my husband to leave the parochial schools: the teaching loads have been getting extreme in the name of cost cutting (and English teachers are expected to teach science or math), discipline support by administration is nonexistent, and standards are slipping fast.

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... which doesn't always get mentioned.

But from what I'm seeing your metrics are flawed.

I send WarriorGirl to a private school that desires but doesn't mandate parental involvement.

Her cousins go to public school in a fairly tony suburb. Her same-age cousin had homework in Kindergarten (jeez louise), and has at least 15 minutes of homework every night in first grade. And they're already doing test-prep for the 4th grade MCAS.

My daughter, without homework at all, is reading two grades ahead of him, doing math a grade ahead, does multimedia research reports (on turtles), and writes poetry. Next year, she'll have homework, but already at a higher level, and will never spend any time doing test-prep.

The teaching load at any public school is higher, because they have mandated IEP reporting requirements, more students per teacher (20+:1 rather than 9:1), more homework to grade, more mandated curricula, etc.

But parochial schools are a different problem; the one I'm most familiar with has a higher student teacher ratio, parents are not allowed in the building, there's no team-teaching, no dedicated math or art or music or science teachers, and a religiously-mandated curriculum.

One size doesn't fit all; but asserting that public school is always better than private is going to be a losing proposition, especially with the current high-stakes testing mandates.

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Reading well at a young age more often than not has to do with the parents, not the school. Perhaps you were much more involved in your child learning to read than his/her cousins' parents or perhaps your kid is just plain smarter.

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"But parochial schools are a different problem; the one I'm most familiar with has a higher student teacher ratio, parents are not allowed in the building, there's no team-teaching, no dedicated math or art or music or science teachers, and a religiously-mandated curriculum."

Parents worked at the school, so yes they were allowed in the building. How else would I have been able to do my lunch time duty! The parents were working at the school during the day! We got to know all the kids and they knew us. Same with teachers and staff - they all knew who we were. Of course strangers aren't allowed in the buildings.

Yes, my daughter had music, extensive art (she is very gifted), drama and even classes on accents (she can do a great Brit). Extra help was available for Math, Science, etal. Her high school had a pretty impressive up to date science lab that was gifted by a very nice family.
She sought out, and received, help in math on more than one occassion.

As far as teacher ratios; I've never had a problem thinking my child wasn't getting the needed attention.

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As I said, the parochial school I'm most familiar with has these issues. They don't want volunteers, and they're quite clear on that.

I know of two secular private schools who have very "channeled" parental involvement, and discourage parents from being in school during class time. However exclusive they may be, you couldn't pay me enough to send my child there :)

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Again, I disagree. Having gone through the college application route as well, I heard more than once that my daughters acceptance showed what a good education she had.

Same grade as cousins, in her 6th grade, she was doing work her cousins that went to public school, didn't get to until 8th grade. She was a good two years ahead of her comtemporaries in public school.

I also have family members that teach, private, public and catholic - their opinions, based upon past conversations, also disagree with your stance on the subject.

I will disagree with you and leave it at that.

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Unfortunately, parochial school kids usually lag significantly far behind public school kids in science and math and need to play catch if they switch into public schools. Happening with my nephew and I recall this was the case with a few of my friends growing up.

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they are:

1) Paying (often through the nose)

2) They are the parents of the children

If they have issues with their kid's education, even with specific individuals at the school, they have a right to get "uppity".

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Hey Swirly. My dad taught grad school education his entire career my mom taught at the private school I attended. My point, which you appear to have missed entirely, is that publicly elected school committees do not, in general, do a particularly good job of running school systems. Not that running a private school does not have its challenges.

Parental income does correlate really well with both public and private school performance but that has nothing to do with whether elected officials are effective at running schools. If you want to argue that they are I am all ears.

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HAH! You've never lived in the South, have you? Spend a little time chatting with an alum of the white-flight bible schools that popped up like mushrooms on a cowpat after desegregation-- schools that STILL EXIST-- and you will change your mind about the worst schools in AMerica being public.

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Hmm, I'd have maybe gone with it was a Howard Beale "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" moment and had some admiration for Adkins-Sharif, I'm sure that position including having to kowtow to parents and the school committee is excruciatingly difficult.

But he lost me hard with "middle- and upper-class, largely white parents" ... he was not well suited for his position.

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Medford had one of these, too. He was clearly here, commuting from the rarified equestrian climes of the North Shore each morning, to grace our rough, unwashed immigrant and white working class children with his glorified presence and irritating turns of phrase. I'm sure that he thought that he was encouraging, but it was pretty clear that he thought he was slumming.

I like the new guy so much better (he's actually better educated himself than the blue-blood), and so does nearly every parent that I know.

I have to wonder if this guy in Cambridge came to work with the lowly and downtrodden, assuming that all those Harvard Professors and rich folk sent their kids to the Newman School and BBN? More diversity than he bargained for, I'm sure.

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we mean "you shut up and do what we say."

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Can someone please explain what an upper school is? Sounds vaguely British.

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It's a middle school/junior high. At least in Cambridge. Elsewhere, it usually denotes a high school. Or some combination thereof. Josiah Quincy Upper School, grades 6-12 springs to mind.

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That made me totally crackup. Submaster is even funnier.

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(private) had both a headmaster and a principal.

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I work in education and recently moved here for my job. Upper and lower schools, having headmasters, all this stuff is pretty unique to MA public schools. (No experience with private or prep schools, so can't speak to that.)

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When did Claudio Martinez leave Boston for Cambridge?

I had wondered why he left Hyde Square Task Force and the BPS committee and know we know!

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Did the principal mention the use of overinflated language such as the use of words such as
statistical control and educational metrics? :)

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Parents being involved in their child's education is considered entitled? I though that was considered being responsible and well... a parent!

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