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August 24, 2006

Maximum Participation?

Last week we received our first letter about the schools Parent Teacher Foundation aka PTF. Below is a excerpt:

"To bring the maximum amount of participation into the PTF, we would like to try a new concept this year. I am a working parent, just as many of us are these days, and we seem to have verylittletime for meetings in the evenings due to family needs and after schoolactivities. What we would like to propose, is to schedule PTF Meetings once a month on Fridays after school starting at 3:15 pm and promise to keep them as short as possible. ...."

My husband sent her feedback via email. My removal of personal details are in italics.


My name is Amy's hubby and I have two daughters, Oldest and Youngest, at XXXXX school. Yesterday Oldest brought home your message regarding the PTF for the 2006-2007 school year. After reading it, I am extremely disappointed in the "proposal" to hold PTF meetings at 3:15 in the afternoon.

You mention in your message that you are a working parent and that the time of 3:15 was "proposed" in consideration of working parents' being busy in the evenings. I wonder how many working parents have the ability to be in far south Fort Worth at 3:15 on a work day. I know I don't. I know my wife doesn't. I doubt many working parents who are self-employed or in outside sales of some kind have the flexibility to attend PTF meetings scheduled during a work day.

I think that almost any parent who can attend a PTF meeting at 3:15 on a work day could also attend one at 5:15 or 6:15 or 7:15. The converse is most certainly not true. There are many, many parents who could attend a PTF meeting at 5:15 or 6:15 or 7:15 who simply cannot attend one at 3:15. Now, it may be that the parents who can attend at 3:15 have other activities which they *choose* to give priority over a later PTF meeting, but that is a choice they have to make for themselves and their children. Most working parents do not have a meaningful choice as to whether they can attend a PTF meeting at 3:15 on a work day; it is simply out of the question.

The "proposed" start time affects more than working parents. What will a stay-at-home parent do with their school-aged children during the 3:15 PTF meeting? Will the children be expected or required to attend the meeting as well? Will there be a room with supervision for these children while the PTF meeting is held? Will the parent be expected to hire a babysitter, or have a spouse come home early, to take care of the children during the meeting?

I think that the "proposal" to hold PTF meetings at 3:15 on a work day is so exclusionary of so many people that it needs to be re-examined and subject to the input of more people. I can't speak for others in this regard, but one of the reasons we chose to send out daughters to a private school was to be able to be more involved in their education. The "proposal" to hold the PTF meetings at 3:15 on a work day completely removes PTF involvement as an option for our family and I am hopeful that it will be changed so that we, and other families with parents who don't get off work by 3:00, can be involved.

Thanks for your time,
Amy's hubby

We checked with some other parents to make sure we were not out of line in our thoughts about the 3:15 meeting time as crazy. If I had to pick a time to have the least amount of people there, while still seeming like I am being helpful, I would pick this time. Friday? Puuuulease. Working parents can be there at 3:15? Good grief!

The plot thickens from here but I will let it play out before I share the details, if I do.

Posted by on August 24, 2006 06:52 PM |


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3:15?? Friday?? Specifically for working parents??

Is this woman out of her tree??

Posted by: caltechgirl | August 27, 2006 12:28 AM