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So let us start a conversation on how to fix it.

I often go out with my wife and her teacher friends and we have a commonly accepted rule: "Shop talk" is allowed for the first 30 minutes and then we all move on to something more pleasant.

I say more pleasant not because I don't understand what they are talking about (sometimes I do, sometimes I don't) but because it typically is 30 minutes of b#$*^ing and no one is really having any fun. I, and other spouses/friends that attend such gatherings often ask, "well, what would you do to change it." Discussions about solutions are almost always more fun, dynamic, and inclusive than complaints that result in no change.

I skimmed the article (about 80% of it) and the blame is placed on the parents. I would generally agree - so what can we (non-teachers and teachers) do to create a solution to the problem?

Any ideas from those on the inside? Let us brainstorm to improve the situation.

My initial thought would be to create incentives for parents to participate in their child's education. Monetary incentives (rebates, discounts, waiver of school fees) for those parents to attend school events like parent-teacher nights. You could even get the state involved by granting tax incentives to parents that increase their partipation. Maybe give tax credits to parents based on the improvement of their children?

If we agree that the problem (or a significant portion of the problem) is parental apathy, we don't have to waste time with any arguments on unions or teacher pay, or any other unnecessarily divisive topic.
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