Saturday, May 23, 2009

Take a father to school survey

Mark Rauterkus's blog discusses a survey that was to be given to participants at yesterday's "Take a father to school day." He reports that the survey was pulled at the last minute without explanation. The link to this discussion including a further link to a draft of the survey is at:


Mark Rauterkus said...

I think some principal or more -- those on the front line -- so it goes (not my words) -- had a gripe with question #9.

My question was #10.

Are you interested in joining a citywide sports booster organization?
Yes, Maybe, No.

"Engagement" is one of the talking points to the broken record Boardmember Thomas Sumpter always talks about. This is a major engagement fumble.

Hence, the "TRUST" in the PPS is ABSENT.

This is why people don't show up to help on the grand scale. People don't like to be submarined.

Who, exactly, killed the survey?

Names are expected.

Questioner said...

This is question 9. It is too bad that a PPS administrator didn't run questions by principals in advance so that an agreement on language could be reached.

9) If you are not involved in your child’s education at school, what prevents you from being involved?

__I was never asked
__I don’t have the time
__I’m not interested
__concerned about my current lifestyle
__embarrassed about my lack of education
__teachers talk down to me

Mark Rauterkus said...

Why do we - parents / male engagement steering committee -- need to run things by the principals to get their approval?

The principals work for US, the parents, the taxpayers.

To bad the principals are so hell bent on getting in the way of parent engagement.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Of course, perhaps it was one, or two, or three principals that caused an obection. Perhaps it was a top administrator?

There are about a hundred plus folks who would have seen the survey on its way to all the schools. Printers, IT, secretary, clerks, etc.

I'd give the other 99% of the people the benefit of the doubt and they are NOT the problem.

I'm a fan of PEER REVIEW too.

So, my beef isn't with 99% of the principals. Just to be clear.

And, my beef is still with lots of unanswered questions. Those answers are due, yet, sometime. What really happened behind the scenes remains to be seen.

Gunther Grass said...

Mr.Rauterkus, you kill me. You are so out of touch with the reality of Pittsburgh Public Schools that it truly numbs the mind. If perception is reality, then it follows that your perception is completely enveloped that the entire district is akin to what you see in the IB program. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth. Shall we say, "polar opposites"???

First off, the new breed of principals take their marching orders from Roosevelt administration. Period. Case closed. I find it fascinating that you are not venting on Bellefield Avenue at this time. Why not?

Secondly, your "gripes" should surround much more serious and daunting questions. To wit,:

-How has the district grading policy impacted high achieving students who look to enter higher-level colleges? How will it continue to affect them?
-Given the flight of achieving students from this district, where has the current administration failed in its approach? Why is the Pittsburgh Promise looked upon as something aimed at helping low-achieving students, first and foremost?
-What of discipline at comprehensive middle and high schools?
-What of achievement scores in high schools across the district?
-What of an across-the-board horrible curricula that trumpets "academic rigor" behind an insanely-paced daily script that leaves "average" or "mainstream" students in a cloud of dust? Is the district's new grading policy supposed to placate those students while fooling academia into thinking that we indeed have rigor?

There are bigger fish to fry than what you are carping about, pardon the pun.

Please, get out in the real world that IS PPS and wake up to smell the napalm. Your provincial style of discussing issues simply encompasses a personal concern.

By the way---what idiot devised take your father to work day??? Perhaps you'd like a teacher rendition as to why this idea is a complete flop.

Questioner said...

Why would the idea be a flop?

Wouldn't getting fathers involved help with some of the very issues you cite, Gunther, such as discipline and achievement?

Gunther Grass said...

Questioner, how many "dads" arrive a little 'loaded'? How many 'hit' on female teachers? How many ask to go to the bathroom, or spend time greeting kids they know in the room?

Look, if the idea is that dads need to play a role in the lives of their kids, I'm all for it. This isn't the way, and in fact, this is plain insanity pushed by some type of "perfect world" administrator.

As stated to Mr.Rauterkus, you really ought to get out into the real world. Once there, the cold, sobering reality of this district will give you a much needed kick in the hind quarters.

While I agree that education won't be fixed until families preach the importance of education to their children--especially in poverty stricken areas of our town (education is the ONLY escape)---this continues to be a laughable idea.

Questioner said...

Mark, do you have any information on incidents of fathers behaving inappropriately at Take a Father to School Day?

It does seem that more than one day would be necessary for real progress. There seems to be a growing realization that family and community issues affect students' ability to achieve, and that programs based in neighborhood schools can help address these issues.

Anonymous said...

Growing reality? Where? Just where is it? Please show me. Not in schools that deal with kids coming from crime riddled projects or extreme poverty.
And again, I doubt Mark can shed any light on the dads he has seen because again Questioner---you are dealing with schools that have parents that VALUE education and understand their role in the lives of their kids.

parent one said...

Thank heavens my kids are beyond the age where taking dad to school was important. I can say the concerns I had when the event was new still exist. I worked the registration desk at my son's K-5 during two or three "take your dad" events. We used lists to confirm a dad had registered in advance and each dad had a name badge. We knew where to send dad even when he did not know the NAME of his kid's teacher. Remember these were the years immediately after 9/11. There is a downside for a principal who has asked for parent volunteers to "work the desk." In this instance, he/she has to spend about 30 minutes listening to volunteer spouting off about why the event should be abandoned. Can you say Clearances?

Mark Brentley had this idea and still supports it and works hard to expand it. Somebody needs to come up with something better.

Annette Werner said...

I have many happy memories of chaparoning at my kids' class trips, including an art museaum, apple orchard, movie, the Lorraine motel and civil rights museum in Memphis... maybe fathers could help out with these activities.

Mark Rauterkus said...

It was posted, fascinatingly, that I was not venting on Bellefield Avenue at this time. Say what? I am venting there too.

Personal concerns are fair ground to gripe upon. Global concerns are as well. I do both.

Take your father to work day is a different, real world topic. This thread is about a father to school. Different days on the polar week.

Mark Rauterkus said...


Questioner, how many "dads" arrive a little 'loaded'?

Perhaps the same number as teachers? Perhaps a few less than walk outside my real-world door each night. If you know it all, let's have you tell us, not ask silly questions.

The Take A Father To School Day is not plain insanity pushed by some type of "perfect world" administrator -- because it was started by a POLICIAN. The administration, by and large, cringe at this event, I dare say. And, Mark Brently, Sr. the founder of the day, is hardly a "perfect world kinda guy."

Education is the only escape if you ignore the miliatry, Hollywood, sports, music, cooking, plumbing, and being a monk -- plus another zillion options. Only a pin head would think education is the ONLY escape. But, perhaps we agree that it is the best escape.

I have no information on incidents of fathers behaving inappropriately at Take a Father to School Day. I have one bold one of a principal doing so by nixing the survey.

The day is but ONE in a range of options -- more like a season closing opportunity. Real progress can't and should not rest on that one day. We all know that. And, we've even pushed to have it EARLY in the school year -- not at the end. But, administration is worried too much about the flirting with female teachers N@.

Can you say Clearances?
YES I can say clearances. But, this is not a problem if you can say management.

parent one said...

Annette is absolutely right about how much fun chaparoning can be and I have had the pleasure of chaparoning with dads many many times. The point is we have to be cautious about throwing open the doors for an event like TYDTS day. How much personal attention can staff provide to the dad of a kid who might really benefit from the contact on a day when the halls are full of dads?

Anonymous said...

Mark, your comments are so full of inaccuracies and misconceptions that for a brief moment, I thought I was dealing with students.
First off, it's no wonder that you take a pot shot regarding teachers being "loaded". How big of you. And it's no surprise that you pay lip service to the idea of "fathers"--and I'll use that term loosely--hitting on many teachers like myself. You have no reports? So what? Who are you again?
Secondly, you obviously don't deal with many children who come from the projects or from dire poverty-stricken conditions. If you did, you would not have written the idea about education not being the avenue out of such circumstances nor would you call those of us who actually work with these types of students on a daily basis "pin heads". Again, you have become a predictable representation of so many parents who believe that our public school system IS Frick or IS Schenley or Allderdice.
Sir, you have no clue.
Fewer than 1% of aspiring athletes ever make it to the big time. Fewer than 5% of aspiring actors, actresses and musicians make a major dent in Hollywood or in the entertainment world. "Pin head", you say?
And that you would negate the need for clearances in this day and age in favor of "management" speaks volumes regarding the dream world you live in.
I can only salute the principal who put the kabosh on your proceedings. Unlike you, he undoubtedly sees the bigger picture.
And I can only thank you for what amounts to sexist, elitist buffoonery.

Mark Rauterkus said...

The dad's do not crave personal attention from the staff / teachers of the school district. That is NOT the purpose of Take A Father to School Day.

A token bit of supervision is expected and some management, of course.

Fathers that day are not there to to take -- rather to give.

Mark Rauterkus said...

The pot shot was GG's with Mr.Rauterkus, you kill me. Then to 'numb the mind' by him / sobering reality. GG's ramts. What of the slander on dads as he asks, "how many "dads" arrive a little 'loaded'?"

Pot shots are only being deflected by me after his attacks on the messenger -- and not the message.

I called YOU a pin head, not those who work with students in the projects. YOU are the one that says the EDUCATION is the ONLY way to 'escape.' You're words need to be picked with clarity so as to rid the world of inaccuracies and misconceptions -- not sustain them.

Tossing stones and not defending your words is digging a hole for you, again. Logic helps fix better understandings. I am one to remind you of that reality.

Re-read what I said about education being the best avenue out of poverty.

Get on the same page, please.

GG/Anon wrote in part: "I can only salute the principal who put the kabosh on your proceedings."

To be accurate, these are not MY proceedings. Rather the kabosh was on a survey. And, that survey came from a committee of parents and taxpayers.

To venture a hunch, I would not second guess that YOU are the one to have had a role in putting the kabosh on the survey.

Anonymous said...

Mark, as an apparent colleague to the teacher who took you to task, just one suggestion: quit this thread before you embarrass yourself any further.