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Public School Fail: Mother’s Day Report Card

A first grade class at Ridgecrest Elementary in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, (and scads of other schools around the country, too, if the 1,994 downloads are any indication) made a Mother’s Day “gift” to take home. Was it a sentimental card? A loving poem? Perhaps the impression of the child’s hand forever memorialized in plaster of paris? No.

Public School Fail: Mother's Day Report Card

Some teacher (or in this case it may have been Principal Teri Mattson) thought it was a grand idea to have six-year-olds rate their moms on personal behaviors. The “report card” reveals how well “the mom” lives up to expectations! Kids get to rate (with smiling, neutral, or frowning faces) their moms on these items: 

  1. The mom cares for her children.
  2. The mom cooks healthy meals for her children.
  3. The mom has an organized bedroom.
  4. The mom takes time to enjoy her hobbies, such as reading.
  5. The mom works hard to make money for her family.
  6. The mom is funny and makes her children laugh.
  7. The mom takes care of herself by getting her hair done and taking bubble baths.
  8. The mom is a safe driver and does not get distracted when driving.

Inspire Me, ASAP!—the username of a woman who offers items on Teachers Pay Teachers—created this worksheet. It is apparently receiving lots of positive feedback (and smiling faces!) with comments like:

  • The moms will love these!
  • How fun is this?! Can’t wait to have my kiddos make this!
  • Super adorable!
  • Adorable idea. I can’t wait to see their answers.

I showed the worksheet to Sam without comment or background. (If you know Sam, he is not one given to emotional displays.) His mouth dropped open and he audibly gasped. “Wow. That is subversive!” No kidding. And, yes, the teachers “can’t wait to see their answers.”

Now the questions are:

  1. How many parents are going to speak up about this?
  2. How could teachers/administrators be this clueless?

Whenever things like this happen, I see a ton of private griping and moaning and negative social media commentary. Few parents, however, are willing to push back. In a nutshell, parents are afraid of school employees. These taxpayer funded teachers and administrators hold so much power (grades, influence, activities, resources) that parents vehemently object in private while smiling and nodding in public.

They work for us, people. They must be held accountable.


Giving such a worksheet is not just invasive and stupid. In Utah, it’s illegal.

Title 53A Chapter 13 Part 3 Section 302

Except as provided in Subsection (7), Section 53A-11a-203, and Section 53A-15-1301, policies adopted by a school district or charter school under Section 53A-13-301 shall include prohibitions on the administration to a student of any psychological or psychiatric examination, test, or treatment, or any survey, analysis, or evaluation without the prior written consent of the student’s parent or legal guardian, in which the purpose or evident intended effect is to cause the student to reveal information, whether the information is personally identifiable or not, concerning the student’s or any family member’s:…

(e) critical appraisals of individuals with whom the student or family member has close family relationships


Teacher Margaret L. has provided us with a Teacher’s End-of-the-school Year Report Card, bless her heart. This one is actually genius!

Thank you, Margaret!

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • IdRatherNotSay May 9, 2015, 1:53 pm

    This is why my kids are not going to public schools.

  • Banshee May 9, 2015, 2:31 pm

    Hell, no! Mind blowing!

  • IDIAT May 9, 2015, 5:52 pm

    Maybe an inventive parent will send their child to school with a similar report card on the teacher.

  • Joe May 9, 2015, 5:58 pm

    I kind of hope of one of the parents sues the school.

  • Amy May 9, 2015, 7:34 pm

    Here is a link to the blog this was posted on. Maybe we should let this woman know how inappropriate and mean-hearted this seems…?

  • Amy May 9, 2015, 7:43 pm

    this website is the blog belonging to the woman who made this. Maybe we should let her know how mean-hearted this seems?
    Amy recently posted…$200 in TPT Gift Cards Giveaway!My Profile

  • Ahna May 9, 2015, 8:40 pm

    I agree that this worksheet is at best misguided, but to use this as evidence against the entire public school system and all public school teachers seems like a hasty generalization. I also wish we could see more of the context of the assignment, but the listing seems to have been removed from the website.

  • Heather May 9, 2015, 10:21 pm

    It looks like Melissa, of “Inspire Me, ASAP”, took down the assignment. I know of at least one parent, who sent her a note voicing her concern. I did as well.

    I agree with you, that parents should be speaking with their children’s teachers, school administrators, school board, etc. when they have concerns. But I don’t think it should be viewed as parents against teachers, or parents against principals, etc. Parents need the support of teachers, and teachers need the support of parents. Teachers need the support of principals, and good principals need the support of teachers and parents as well.

  • Alison Moore Smith May 9, 2015, 11:26 pm

    LOL That’s a brilliant idea. Who wants to make one? I’ll upload it! 🙂
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Freedom from the Oppression of the Word of WisdomMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith May 9, 2015, 11:38 pm

    Ahna, I’m unsure how you came to the conclusion that a post about a particular assignment was as sweeping a generalization as you claim. The “entire public school system and all public school teachers”? Where did you read that?

    I have the entire download of the PDF. There is no context that makes this a good thing. The entire download is five pages and includes:

    1. A cover page
    2. A page promoting the authors other works
    3. An instruction page showing finished examples
    4. The page included in the graphic
    5. An additional, optional worksheet for kids to tell mom “what else” you want this mom to know.

    It was just a horrid implementation from start to finish.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Mother, Where Art Thou?My Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith May 9, 2015, 11:40 pm

    Heather, I agree it shouldn’t be seen that way, but parents are very often afraid to make any statement critical of those in charge for fear of retaliation or just not being seen as a team player.

    A parent who complains is generally not seen as “supporting” the teacher/administrator. How do we change that dynamic?
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Paid Menopause Leave – Because I Deserve ItMy Profile

  • Kera May 10, 2015, 1:08 am

    Thanks for sharing this. I think too often parents are afraid of “rocking the boat”… No mom wants to be “that mom”…. I like Allisons question of “how do we change the dynamic?”

  • ChesterNut May 10, 2015, 12:13 pm

    I think we can all agree this is a public school fail. Awful idea.

  • IdRatherNotSay May 10, 2015, 4:05 pm

    Ahna,

    You might have been responding to me when I said that this was why I will not place my children in public schools. I realize this one example is an isolated incident, but my point is that by allowing my children to be taught (or not) by strangers, I am surrendering a great deal of control over my children’s upbringing to other people I do not know and these types of things are bound to happen. Furthermore, the public education system in many areas of the country is sadly turning into a social babysitting program. Good teachers have less control over their classrooms and lessons thanks to tenure battles, strict curricula, bullying principals, legislation, unruly kids and (some) unreasonable parents. Why would I want to subject my children to this if I do not have to? The system was excellent in my area of the country when I grew up, but things have changed.

    One of my schoolteacher friends is horrified that my husband and I are planning to home school our children. It is her opinion that home schooling moms only do so because they have emotional problems and cannot detach from their children. That’s a very unfortunate (and unfair) position to take. My husband and I both have doctorates (most teachers have baccalaureate degrees) and these days, there is plenty of access to home schooling materials, which I plan to use as outlines. I may not have decorated bulletin boards in college, but I do know a thing or two about how the human brain learns. I think we’ll survive. There are groups of home schooling parents who work together to socialize their children as well as church, lessons, etc. where my kids can develop friendships and social circles. When we lived in DC, many LDS families home schooled and their kids turned out to be wonderful, high-achieving citizens in their communities.

    Teachers have a really, really, tough job and they are underpaid. I do not envy them. I prefer, however, to do what all parents are supposed to do by holding myself accountable for the development of my children. This is how I am choosing to do that. I apologize if I offended you by stating that my children will not be learning in public schools.

    P.S. Alison, every time I comment on your blog, the system forces me to clear all of my cashe, cookies and history before submitting because I am seen as a ‘threat.’ Have you changed your blog settings? Because this is new…

  • Amie Johnson May 10, 2015, 11:11 pm

    I too find this mother’s day activity appalling, but please do not lump all teachers together. I honestly think that without teachers and parents working together, we will get anything but a positive outcome. We must take care of our children. Please remember though, in some states a report card is handed out like this to parents based on limited observations of teachers. There are bad teachers yes, but there are great teachers too. Maybe parents will see that there is no value in “grading” each other and instead will spend more time volunteering in classrooms and getting the feel of what a teacher is like in a classroom setting.

  • Judy May 11, 2015, 7:30 am

    Not one of their best ideas to say the least. I do share your sentiments regarding parents being afraid to make a critical statement in fear of retaliation. Normally critical statements should be seen as constructive criticism; something teachers and parents could work out together to improve the system. Unfortunately it happens all to often that the administration takes it as an offense with some negative repercussions.
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  • mommy philosophy May 11, 2015, 4:07 pm

    I spoke with this principal about this very issue and I assure you she was just as appauled as me. The teacher in question thought it was just a cute activity and has apologized for the mistake.

  • Margaret L. May 12, 2015, 1:59 pm

    I’m a teacher and I think this is wrong. I just made a Teacher’s End-of-the-School Year Report Card. How can I send it to you?

  • Tina gower May 12, 2015, 11:06 pm

    I got one of these. The teacher still believes it was awesome. Now she’s is attacking my parenting through emails corespondense. No longer acknowledging the ‘report card’. I have no words for this. Atrocious.

  • Alison Moore Smith May 12, 2015, 11:32 pm

    Thanks, Margaret! I added a link to the OP. Bless you!
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Freedom from the Oppression of the Word of WisdomMy Profile

  • Heather May 17, 2015, 7:03 pm

    Alison,

    Teachers have their own fears as well, and teachers who seek to develop relationships with parents, and parents who seek to develop relationships with teachers, help to change that dynamic. Parents can befriend a teacher, show their support, ask how they can help, volunteer, etc.

    Understanding the public school system, current policies, parent rights etc. is another way to reduce fear. Parents who still have concerns may consider other education options.

    What did you mean by “retaliation”? I know a parent who is afraid to voice too much concern because she is afraid that her child will be treated poorly somehow. But this same parent has not sought to develop a relationship with her child’s teacher, visit/volunteer in the class, etc., which adds to her paranoia.

    In response to what you wrote:

    “Heather, I agree it shouldn’t be seen that way, but parents are very often afraid to make any statement critical of those in charge for fear of retaliation or just not being seen as a team player.

    A parent who complains is generally not seen as “supporting” the teacher/administrator. How do we change that dynamic?”

  • Alison Moore Smith May 19, 2015, 11:35 am

    Teachers have their own fears as well, and teachers who seek to develop relationships with parents, and parents who seek to develop relationships with teachers, help to change that dynamic.

    Yes, I’m sure they do. What do you think those are? When my kids have had public school classes, I have always tried to develop a relationship with the teachers. Some are more open to that than others. Some are willing to have candid, rational conversations. Some get very defensive at the hint of any problem.

    Parents can befriend a teacher, show their support, ask how they can help, volunteer, etc.

    You know, sometimes this works, sometimes it does not. Sometimes it’s a manipulative thing and I’m not sure that’s good. Honestly, given that the teachers are paid to do their job, I resent teachers who expect parents to volunteer lots of time in order for their children to be treated equally. For example, the child of the über stage mom who makes all the costumes and takes all the pictures can magically get a disproportionate share of leads. We might say, “Well, the world runs on favors.” Maybe so.

    What did you mean by “retaliation”?

    1. Subjective grading is marked down.
    2. Attention and help to student is reduced.
    3. Teacher acts in an antagonist manner toward the student.
    4. Teacher targets the student for public criticism.
    5. Opportunities to excel are not provided to student.
    6. Siblings are labeled “trouble-makers.”
    7. Etc.

    For example, one of my girls took a public school class a number of years ago. The class (comprised of almost all LDS kids and an LDS teacher) was going on a performing tour. When the itinerary was handed out, it showed the group attending a Las Vegas show on the way home…on Sunday.

    My daughter didn’t say anything the teacher during class, nor did she say anything to me after school. The next day (still months before the tour), she went to the teacher’s office, alone, and asked if it would be OK if she stayed in her hotel room during the show. The teacher asked why and she tried not to make some kind of big moral statement about it, but just said, “I’d prefer not to see a show on Sunday.” The teacher was agitated, but said, “Well, fine.”

    A few days later the teacher announced—in front of the class—that the Sunday show had changed to a different show. The new show was a new Broadway show that all the kids were dying to see. Then she looked at my daughter and said, “If you still don’t want to go to the show, you can just sit in your hotel room and read your scriptures.” She indicated she would not be allowed to watch TV, socialize, or do anything else.

    My daughter tried to deal with her situation in a mature and respectful way—in private, so as not to seem to contradict or undermine the teacher. The teacher, likely, saw her actions as questioning her moral authority and publicly humiliated her. That’s what I’m talking about.

    I know a parent who is afraid to voice too much concern because she is afraid that her child will be treated poorly somehow. But this same parent has not sought to develop a relationship with her child’s teacher, visit/volunteer in the class, etc., which adds to her paranoia.

    I’d call labeling the parent as “paranoid” ad hominem. Frankly, most teachers I’ve dealt with do not like “too much” parental concern as they deem it “interference.” A parent should be able to express concerns whether they have volunteered in the class or sucked up to the teacher or not. 🙂
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  • Sussan May 20, 2015, 3:21 am

    I hope of one of the parents sues the school.

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