Labor Day is over, the school year has started and with it, so have the expectations from some schools that parents volunteer their time either in the building or after school hours.
I appreciate both my own good fortune in having children at all, and I recognize the merit of other parents who devote themselves to supporting their children’s schools.
But I want to at the same time call out the schools that still harbor this expectation of parents.
The word is chutzpahdik.
It’s especially disappointing in private schools, like the Jewish one my son attends and those that we write about so comprehensively in this newspaper. We are paying them to help us create a community that is sensitive to our reality, not to make us feel bad.
Yes, there was an article about this in the New York Times a few days ago, and I thank its author, Bruce Feiler, for helping me to feel more comfortable voicing these sentiments.
My suggestion: let the parents who want to volunteer come to the school and organize themselves, which they will do anyway, and many, many thanks to them. At the very least, the schools should initiate and maintain an honest dialogue about what the full range of parents can realistically do to support the school beyond paying tuition and being a thoughtful, loving parent to the student.
But let’s discontinue the use of forms that assume parental participation of this kind. Some of us just do not enjoy that luxury.
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