March 14th, 2013
10:48 AM ET

'I'm not your enemy': 10 things parents and teachers want each other to know

By Nicole Saidi, CNN

(CNN) - Teachers and parents share a common purpose: educating children.

But differing beliefs, expectations and methods can make collaboration more challenging.

A 2011 story published on by author and teacher Ron Clark, entitled "What teachers really want to tell parents," looked at reasons why educators give up on their field.

He asserted that negativity from parents places undue pressure on teachers and advised greater cooperation.

"We are educators, not nannies," Clark wrote. "We are educated professionals who work with kids every day and often see your child in a different light than you do. If we give you advice, don't fight it."

His opinion consistently resonated with readers over the next couple of years, which made it one of CNN's most-shared stories on Facebook. The story has been recommended more than 898,000 times.

Clark founded the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta and was named "American Teacher of the Year" by Disney and a "Phenomenal Man" by Oprah Winfrey.

But even Clark's status as a leader in his field didn't fully explain why this story captivated people, so CNN revisited the idea with Facebook users last week by asking them to finish this sentence: "The one thing parents/teachers really need to know is _____."

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Filed under: Parents • Policy • Practice • Students • Teachers • Voices
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. chris

    I'm insulted by articles which continue to make this discussion one about teachers verses parents. For myself it has always been about the system, the administrative bloatedness and the ability of the public school system to operate a successful program. The teachers are the acorn way out on the branch but used in the media as a way to hide what the real problem is..internally the system itself.

    I do get disappointed in teachers when any discussion of the public education system is automatically taken and defended as an attack on teachers...and then the best they can do is say you can't spell. I dont feel teachers have a visible motivation to look at their system and wonder if it can be better. I wonder how good our kids education would be if teachers looked at each student and said..can't be better.

    I'd like to see teachers stand up for kids, which they so often tell us they care so much for and look at their system and demand changes for the better.

    In St Louis we have over 525 administrative positions in the public school system. They handle nearly the same number of kids as the archdiocese of st. louis school system..yet they manage all those kids with only 12 management positions..and get better results!

    So for's not teachers against parents, never has been.

    March 14, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Roman

      Understand that we DO see the flaws and fight for it. Have you not noticed the surge in teacher strikes in the last few years? We are fighting and we are being demonized for it. I have seen teachers get into screaming matches with their principals over issues that harm students, like wanting to cancel the prom or "reallocate" prom funds. Too many schools have teachers pitted against administrators. Many people make the argument that we throw money at problems and they don't work - yes, because the problem is in the administration to begin with, and you're giving them more money. You might as well inject fresh cells to a cancerous body region and wonder why it isn't working.

      March 19, 2013 at 2:04 pm |