This is actually a pit-by-proxy – my wife has this first-hand experience, so I’m pitting on her behalf.
We live in a medium sized city, a bedroom community in the Bay Area. My wife works in the office of a middle school in the public school district, and is forced to deal with parents on a daily basis, especially now at the beginning of the school year.
These parents are largely a royal PITA.
First…they lie. There is a perception that some of the schools in our district are “better” than others, so parents lie about their home address, trying to get into one of the “better” schools (despite the fact that they’re all run by the same school district and have the same curriculum).
And they’re pushy. On the first day of school, the parent of a 7th grader (entering the school for the first time) called the office to demand that her little darling be moved from one math class to another, because she didn’t like the teacher he was assigned. How could she possibly have an opinion? She’d “heard from her friends.”
But mostly it’s all about Honors classes. Entrance into the school’s honors classes is based on a combination of the student’s scores on standardized tests; their GPA; and their teachers’ recommendation. But that doesn’t matter – these parents are *hysterical *that their kids’ get into honors. Parents call the office to demand that their scholar be placed in honors, despite all indications that they have little chance of success. If the registrar doesn’t give them what they want, they call back and ask to speak to the vice principal. If that fails, they call back and talk to the principal. And then the district office. Eventually, they usually get their way.
(One school in the district has implemented a parental consent form that says, in words these blunt:“I understand that my child will be placed in an honors class despite his prior performance, and that there is a high probability that he will fail. If my child fails, he will not be moved to a non-honors class. Signed….” and parents snap up these forms as fast as they can print them)
The mindset appears to be: if the kid gets into middle-school honors, then he’ll get into high school honors. If he gets into high school honors, he can get a 4.5 GPA, and will then get into Harvard, Stanford or Berkeley. Then they’ll graduate and be a success in some profession. Game over – they win.