A Letter To Parents Supporting “No Teacher Left Behind”

New Jersey Mom:

I’m one of you – except that I didn’t opt my children out of PARCC testing. But otherwise, I am. I am white, a progressive Democrat, and pay a lot of property taxes. We moved to our town because the schools lead New Jersey and the nation’s list of best schools. I’ve got kids in the public schools, which makes me an oddity amongst my neighbors. But, despite the warts, I believe in public schools. And yes, I do value teachers. I believe them to be well meaning, seeking to do their best on behalf of my children.

But they are not infallible. And it is my role as a parent to monitor their work with my children. I don’t always believe that they know what’s best. And truth be told, I often wonder about their mastery over the content that they teach. Many of our family’s dinnertime conversations have centered on correcting the day’s mistakes. For instance, my child’s third grade math teacher taught that the “product of three sixes” was 18 (3 x 6) versus the actual product of three sixes, i.e., 6 x 6 x 6. A teachable moment at home that night with our eight year old: “No one – not even your teacher – is always right. Question everything.”