Weekend Links: Former NFL Player Blames Harvard-Westlake, John Thomas Dye for “Soft, White” Education…and more!

Porcha and I spoke with parents about private elementary school admissions at a combined event hosted by Branches Atelier and New School West Preschools.
Thursday night, Porcha and I spoke with wonderful parents about private elementary school admissions at a combined event hosted by Branches Atelier and New School West Preschools. Thanks for a great evening!
Isn't this gorgeous? The new pergola at the farm is absolutely gorgeous--many thanks to Waverly parents Simon Morgan and Esteban Nuno for their generous design and construction skills, and, of course, to Waverly staff member Carlos Aldaco for absolutely everything.
The new pergola at the farm is absolutely gorgeous–many thanks to Waverly parents Simon Morgan and Esteban Nuno for their generous design and construction skills, and, of course, to Waverly staff member Carlos Aldaco for absolutely everything. Check out Beyond The Brochure’s School Profile of Waverly School in Pasadena!

Former Miami Dolphins football player, Jonathan Martin, who is African American, blames his John Thomas Dye and Harvard-Westlake education for the problems he encountered in the NFL.  “I suppose it’s white private school conditioning, turning the other cheek,” he wrote to his father. John Thomas Dye declined to respond to the article. Harvard-Westlake did respond. This is a fascinating article, yet I don’t think private schools are to blame, but rather the toxic culture within the NFL.  (NYT Motherlode) 


News flash! “Moms who brag about being lazy and sloppy can be just as judge as too-perfect ones.” Slacker moms, who don’t worry about nap schedules, sugar or too much screen time, are creating a culture of reverse bullying, says writer Elissa Strauss. It’s unfortunate that adherents of any single parenting style feel compelled to judge other moms. In this case, the slacker moms may not even realize what they’re doing. (Salon.com)


Happy Weekend!

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Fourth Grade: Year Of The Mean Girl?

4th Grade: The Year Of The Mean Girl?

I’m part of a great monthly parenting group run by Betsy Brown Braun. It seems every meeting, I bring up issues my daughter is having with other girls at school. Rumors, secrets, lies, broken friendships, tears, nastiness and on and on. Everyday seems to bring a new hurt or upset for my daughter. She is funny, nice and smart. But, she’s not tough.


My daughter also made a faux-paux recently. She gossiped about some of the “mean girls” to her friend and her friend promptly went and told them what my daughter said. They came and confronted her. My daughter is no longer friends with her former good friend.


The Willows School has periodic conversations with the 4th grade girls about acceptable and unacceptable behavior. It just doesn’t seem like it’s having the desired impact. But, as a mom, I can’t intervene. The school doesn’t encourage parent involvement in kids’ disputes and at some point, my daughter has to learn to deal with this stuff.


In the parenting group, Betsy assures me these are typical 4th grade girl antics. Whew! Call me crazy, but I thought this was middle school behavior. No! It’s arrived early and with a bang. Every day brings a new challenge. I’m optimistic, but lately my optimism is dashed when I pick my daughter up from school. Another incident! My friend and guest blogger Jenny Heitz, put it well when she said, everything you’re dealing with is still better than having the mean girl for a daughter. She’s right. I love my daughter’s sweet, trusting nature. But, she does need to learn, as the school said, to the girls to “watch what they say.”


Yesterday, I had one of my toughest parenting days in a long time. My daughter, after talking with me for more than an hour about how she was feeling, sent me an email. She signed it, “your sad daughter.” I instantly broke into tears. I knew how she was feeling, but I didn’t know how to make the hurt disappear. We talked some more and she settled down for the evening.  I assured her tomorrow would be a new day and there’d be an opportunity for good, fun things to happen.


Sure enough, just at the right time today, an invitation to a classmate’s birthday party arrived. My daughter will be attending!

The Big F-You: Kindness Should Be Expected Of Parents Too!

Los Angeles, CA. September 7, 2010, 9:15 a.m.-– FU******K YOU, a mom from one of my kid’s classes screamed into the phone, before hanging up on me. It was the first day of school. I had just dropped off the kids and returned home before the phone started ringing. And ringing. And ringing. My short conversation with this mom wasn’t exactly what I was expecting on the first day of school. I was just hoping my kids would have a good day and all would go well for them.

This mom’s behavior was uncivilized and pathetic. She came unglued. A lame apology that blamed me was emailed several weeks later. You’re probably wondering what happened? Our kids didn’t have a fight. We didn’t volunteer together. We barely know each other. Certainly nothing that would justify that kind of a phone call!
We recently asked readers in a poll on this blog if it was important to have friends at your kids school. Most said yes. I agree. I need friendships with other moms at my kids’ school to help me get through the ups and downs of school, parenting. A Girls Night Out is fun too every once in a while! I’ve decided, however, after a few years at the school, that I only need a FEW friends. It took a while to make those really close friends, but our friendships have withstood the test of time…and of school politics.
My second year at The Willows, I co-chaired the school’s biggest parent-run fundraiser, the auction. We raised more than $200K. Great, you think? Not according the the head of the parent association (this position also comes with a board seat). After the event was over, I was exhausted, completely worn out. It was early evening when I received her email. It was a write-up thanking the auction co-chairs that would be printed in the school’s newsletter. I read it. The head of the parent association had nice things to say about my co-chairs. Then I read her blurb about me: “arrogant”, “extremely skilled at getting donations”, “a true Dr. Jekell, Mr. Hyde personality”. WHAT? This computer illerate had accidently sent the nasty email to ME and ALL MY CO-CHAIRS. Needless to say, there was collateral damage.
My conclusion about all this? When we ask–or demand–kindness, fairness and civility from our children, we must insist on the same from their parents. I’m not perfect! I admit to being difficult to work with sometimes. But, I’m a mom at a school doing volunteer work. To be insulted in the way I have is a sign of entitled wretchedness. Getting that early morning call at home on the first day of school isn’t what you want with your morning coffee. It speaks to a culture of mean-girl behavior.
Bullying is a big problem at many private elementary schools, which struggle to deal with bullies and mean kids. If schools insist on nice-girl (and boy) behavior from our kids, they should insist on it from the parents too.