Rant - My kid's HS Science teacher is a Jerk!

My initial reaction was to go up to school and take a big :poop: on teacher’s desk, but after being in this community for a little while,I’ve been changed. How about getting teacher a MVMCP shirt. Sometimes being nice to an A-hole is best revenge.

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Wow. As I was reading through the thread, I thought how lucky I felt to have my children attend a private school where they don’t have to deal with stupidity like this. So I was surprised when I read it is a private school (I feel like our public schools here would be more likely to do ridiculous things like this).
I’m sorry you had to change your vacation plans, but I understand not wanting to start a battle that could impact your son’s high school career.

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My kids are also in private (Catholic) schools. Years ago we returned from my 3rd grader at the time’s birthday trip to WDW at about noon. We had gotten up at 4 am to catch an early flight, but since school was in session we sent our kids back to school for the afternoon. My DS’s 3rd grade teacher made him take 3 tests that afternoon that he had missed while gone, some of it over material covered while he was away when she would not give him the homework in advance. And of course he did not do well. We were livid! And made a point of not having that teacher for subsequent siblings. Now with kids in private elementary and high schools, we will take the elementary kids out for vacation (other teachers have been helpful and understanding). But the high school’s policy discourages it, not guaranteeing that work can be made up, so we just don’t take the high schoolers during school time. Thus our separate big kid/little kid trips recently.

Teacher here - one very simple question I would ask of the principal:

If my student gets a 0% on a project because of an attendance policy, how exactly does that grade represent what they know?

After all, your student’s science grade should reflect how much science knowledge and/or how many science skills your student has mastered. Behavior and work habits should be reflected in comments, recommendations, or separate grades based on standards related to work habits (which is what we do where I teach). If the academic standard is “student can cite evidence to support analysis of a primary or secondary source” (history teacher here), and the student can do that, they should receive a grade reflecting that, regardless of whether the project was late, early, or whatever. Document the “lack of responsibility” in a different way - don’t skew the academic grade.

ETA: especially when many many many students don’t have control over things like their absences

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That could be true if all grades are weighted the same. In my experience with my children’s teachers, that’s not usually the case. Tests are weighted the heaviest, with quizzes next. Homeworks and labs are typically weighted less and have less of an impact on the overall grade. One thing to worry about with labs is that enough of them are completed to meet testing requirements. Our school doubles up on the labs so that even if kids miss some, it does not impact their ability to take the state exams.

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How unfortunate! Definitely a teacher on a power trip, and as a former teacher, drives me nuts!

Seems like your making the best out of a bad situation!! And hey, today you will all be in Disney by tonight so that’s exciting!

Enjoy your trip!

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I want to give you an appropriate side hug and many high fives.

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While the teacher appears to have control issues, I can’t help but wonder… how long are the winter breaks, spring breaks, and summer breaks? Are there no other times to schedule Disney trips, or is that particular time – which requires an absence – the only time one can go?

It’s not as if schools are in session 24/7.
Most districts have about 180-185 school days a year, give or take snow days & days when terrorists fly planes into buildings & the like.

You usually only get a few longer breaks (spring, Thanksgiving and Christmas) then you get a few Monday’s or Tuesday’s off here and there but it’s usually just a day. Since it’s way too hot to go in the summer, that doesn’t leave a lot of options.

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We’ve typically gone at Thanksgiving and missed a few days. It’s b/c Xmas and Spring Break are the worst crowd times to go and summer is too hot, just like you said. Thanksgiving is the only way we can get decent weather and bad, but not out of control, crowds (although this year’s crowds were much worse than I remembered).

In NYC this year (and this is a typical year), they have off June 29-Sept 4, Sept 28-Oct 1, Nov 28-Dec 1, Dec 21-Jan 1, Feb 15-23, April 9-19, and high schools have regents week Jan 18-27 during a time when a vast majority of students aren’t even taking regents, they’re only for kids who failed previously & need to make them up.

It seems to me that pulling kids out of school, rather than dealing with a little summer heat, or crowds (something that touring plans mitigates) doesn’t make sense, given how much time kids have off from school. I’ve done Spring Break & Winter Break numerous times using touring plans and didn’t have any waits longer than 15 minutes for anything, and this was before FPP even. Of course, one has to be willing to get up early, but those spring break 7am EMHs were golden.

School break calendars vary widely. Most of those breaks you list aren’t given to my kids. The only time we have more than a 3 day weekend is summer, spring break (ours is tied into Easter), winter break—all extremely crowded WDW times (except summer in recent years since they blocked it out from some of the APs). Since we have to travel from far away it’s not feasible to go over a 3 day break. The Thanksgiving we used is only a little better than a 3 day break. The Easter time we get off is blocked out from the WDW military discount b/c they know so many people come then; so is the entire winter break. That only leaves summer which for me is typically a no go b/c I can’t take the heat.

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Does your school year go beyond 180 days? I think my state laws on attendance are so strict because students have more days out of school than in school. Of course all school districts and states are not the same.

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I think teachers (and administrations) often fail to consider if they are actually teaching the lessons they intend to. I remember an report/essay I had to write in 7th grade. Overall, it was pretty darn good for a 7th grader. I’d even spent that summer taking a correspondence course in writing to improve my writing skills. Graded 97/100, with the only points marked down being for misspelling a word. Only, it wasn’t misspelled, it was a Ukranian word with multiple acceptable anglicized spellings. And I could even provide the reference book I used in writing the report to prove it. The teacher wouldn’t budget on the score, even after being forced by my parents (and the vice principal) to admit there was no error. His justification was that he ‘didn’t give 100s, because then students would have no motivation to try to improve’. The lesson I actually learned was 'it doesn’t matter how hard you try or how much work you do, it’s all arbitrary. Don’t bother trying for perfect, just do the barely acceptable." I skated by the rest of my academic career writing papers the night before they were due (including 15 page college research papers).

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Our schools go about 180 days and we have some school breaks. They allow 5 educational days as well, which is what we use to pull our kids out of school. We are going to Disney the week before Memorial Day and they are missing 4 1/2 days. Educational trips are pretty common across the board, so no one thinks much of it. And we choose times where there is no testing and when the kids aren’t doing a ton of work. So I think this all varies state to state and school to school.

I’ve never experienced (as a kid who moved a lot ::military dad:: or as a parent) a school district with more than 2 breaks that were a week+ long - Winter/Christmas break and spring break. Plus, not everyone’s work schedules are super flexible and allow vacations that align with longer school breaks.

Crowds aren’t the only problems with busy times, prices are also higher. Not just for direct WDW costs (tickets, hotels), but flights/rental cars/etc.

We pulled our kids for a week when they were in elementary with no regrets, and our district allows it. Now that the oldest is in middle school, I wouldn’t pull for more than 2 days for a family vacation. But I don’t judge others who do. They know what works best for their families.

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Wholeheartedly agree. After more than one similar situation in school I also backed off academically. What’s even more unfortunate is that I’ve never noticed how my grades in public school impacted my adult life. Actually haven’t noticed it with any other family members either.

We had a big family trip in September with two of our great granddaughters missing a day of school. Naturally their parents got the talk of irresponsibly missing school. I can’t think anybody in the future is going to ask about a day missed in second or third grade.

We had a similar situation with a grandson in his senior year - missing a day or two for a trip to WDW. In this case it the principal - well . . . I have no adjectives for this guy except he probably makes the OP’s teacher look like Mother Theresa - who was saying no makeup for an unexcused absence and NO family trip is excused. So the teachers made sure they assigned all his work before he left with nothing due until he returned. Principal was not happy.

In the OPs case, if I were the student, I’d ask my parents to keep the trip as planned, accept the 0 (I still have the knowledge) and make sure my subsequent grades were such that the jerk HAD to give me an A for the year.

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Yes it’s 180 days. And no flexibility at all. Any sort of unexcused absence is frowned upon. The one I worry about all the time is what if an extended family member passes away. Travel for that is unexcused unless they live in the same house with you which makes no sense to me at all. Since we’re military all of our family are far away and many beloved relatives are becoming elderly. This is part of why I don’t take the kids out of school for a week at a time for optional vacations. I want to have the goodwill of the school in case they have to miss the better part of a week for a funeral. Much more “excusable” if you haven’t already missed a lot of days for vacation.

That’s insane. Parents should really protest that.

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The federal government (under ESSA) has indicators each department of education can identify for accountability. In my state, student attendance is an indicator.

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