Word may be out.
As an opportunistic writer of all things silly, I have found CPS
to be a generous benefactor through the years. The school system
has provided countless heroes and villains, memos and decrees, and
best of all…
I LOVE parent-teacher conferences - despite not getting
paid the $25 Walgreens gift card that other moms received this week
simply for showing up. I don't know what I have to do to get on
that gravy train, but I'm definitely looking into it.
Anyway, what I love best about parent-teacher conferences is
when teachers relax enough to let things slip. I get the gossip,
the inside scoop about the administration, and a head's up on
attempt #504 to reinvent the very foundation of the public school
system. With three different institutions to harvest such
information, I may well be the most clued-in mom in all of
That was, I used to be.
Chicago Parent has outed me. The publication is disseminated at
all the schools. My mom-in-the-woods routine has been found out.
The teachers now view me, quite correctly, as someone looking for a
story. It doesn't matter that my writing is light-hearted and
mostly benign, I am still suspect.
Here is an example of how yesterday's sessions went:
Marianne: Hello, I…
Teacher: Your son is doing fine. Just fine. Here. Sign here.
Good to see you. Don't forget to pick up your 18 forms detailing
policy changes on your way out.
Marianne: But don't you want to talk about….
Teacher: We're good. We're all good. You're not wearing a wire,
I've been shut down. No longer am I able to easily gather the
comedic nuggets collected in previous years. Stuff that went along
the lines of:
"Sweet Jesus. Some of these students have never heard the word
'no.' Thanks for being a bad-ass parent, Marianne. We need more of
"Can you believe they're making us take time to cram
high-fructose corn crap down the kids' throats each morning? Like
any kid is going to say 'no' to a Pop Tart? Half these students are
eating two breakfasts each day. Tell me again why Chicago is so
"You want to know about updating our school website? Ha ha.
You're living in a fairy world, Marianne. The last time that thing
was touched was 2002. I think one of the PTA moms did the code and
nobody has been able to figure it out since."
I am a little sad that I have been blocked from sitting back and
sharing a few giggles and frustrations with my favorite educators.
Why just this month, I even saved some gems to discuss at
conferences. Instead, I was out the door before I could even open
The Concussion Awareness Form (required parent signature) so my
child can participate. IN CHESS.
The letter from the head of CPS telling me everything is great.
Then two weeks later, a letter from a DIFFERENT head of CPS
announcing that everything is STILL great. Nothing to see here.
The 54 memos on standardized tests, workshops, websites, and
reprogramming weekends available to all CPS students.
To say that CPS and Comedy Central don't have a lot in common is
to ignore the potential here. I really believe that with a few
talented writers (ahem), this debacle could be turned into some
kind of network version of "The Office." Instead of copiers and
office politics, the show would highlight kids devouring double
doses of Cherry Pop Tarts each morning while their teachers dole
out $25 Walgreens gift cards and policy forms.
Just think about it, NBC. I'm telling you …
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.
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