Dear Tell All: I'm feeling disgusted with Madison parents right now. Ever since my oldest child started kindergarten, I've encountered these same people at various school events. The message I always get from them is: "My son/daughter is a genius." They're shameless about conveying the message to school administrators, too, who must be sick and tired of this self-aggrandizing attitude by now.
The latest example came at an orientation for high school. Parents of soon-to-be ninth-graders filled the auditorium, and a group of nice administrators gave an impressive introduction to the school. Everything seemed fine until the question-and-answer period started.
As I expected, the subtext of every question was: "My son/daughter is a genius." What I didn't expect was the inappropriate level of hostility. Parents were determined to attack the administrators over various district policies that they imagined would slow down their little geniuses in the race to Harvard and the presidency. (I sure didn't hear any concern for the disadvantaged students the district is trying so hard to help.)
Never mind that this was simply a general orientation meeting, and not a school board forum where educational issues might be addressed. Never mind that parents who came for a simple introduction to the school had to suffer through this pernicious third degree. The administrators were clearly taken aback, and I don't blame them.
We've been hearing a lot about civility since Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot. I'm embarrassed on behalf of Madison parents for the lack of civility they displayed at this meeting. Can't we talk to each other more courteously than that? Can't we entertain the thought that school employees might be trying to do the best they can given the severely strained budgets and the many other problems facing the district?
In short, is there any hope for this generation of obnoxious Madison parents?
Dear Aghast: If your description is accurate, there may well be no hope for these particular parents. But if their kids really are such geniuses, maybe things will go better in the next generation.