Parents Of 'Mathlete' Sue School To Choose Math Teacher

Don't rush to judgment on this one. On the surface, it's a story about helicopter parents meddling with the school system. But there's more going on here than the parents' quest to ensure their son gets his ass kicked in school...

Florida parents sued the Seminole County school board to prevent the school from busing their son down to an easier algebra class.

The controversy started when their son received an 'F' on a quiz and was generally struggling in the harder math class. When faced with their son's struggles, the parents didn't exactly cover themselves in glory. They started bitching and moaning to the school about the teacher. They claimed that the teacher was "tailoring his lessons to more advanced students at their son's expense."

It seems to me that the whole point of advanced honors math classes is to tailor the experience for more advanced kids. There are lots of classes that are taught to the least common denominator of student — advanced classes are supposed to be about challenging the smartest kids. As usual, trying to get rid of your kid's teacher is almost always the wrong call.

In response to the parents' complaints, the school decided to move the kid into an easier, but still "honors," algebra class. That's when the parents sued. They wanted the school to keep their kid in the most advanced class, because they wanted him to be challenged. Hey, at least they weren't accused of trying to plant drugs on the teacher, like these parents.

That's some mixed messaging on behalf of the parents. If they want their struggling son to be challenged, it seems like the right answer is to get him tutors and extra help and whatever else you do when your kid doesn't know what to do when a train leaves Seattle traveling 98 mph heading towards a Bronco lying helplessly on the tracks 3,000 miles away. You put the onus on your 'F' student, not the teacher who is moving too fast.

But, there is a whiff of retaliation on behalf of the school district. These parents were annoying and putting their kid in the easier class might have shut them up. It's not clear that the kid was going to fail the class, he failed a test. He was struggling, sure, but he might have gotten better at it. The teacher might have been able to provide some after-school, extra help. Kicking the kid out of the class seems like the easiest solution for the school, not the best solution for the kid.

In any event, Administrative Law Judge J. D. Parrish ruled in favor of the school district. The parents, who are both lawyers (because of course they are), could still appeal. But Judge Parrish is probably right here. You can't have parents suing the school every time they don't like their son's teacher. You can't have parents choosing the degree of difficulty their kids face when the administration makes a decision that their child can't cut it.

If the parents feel that the new math class isn't challenging enough, then they'll have to get little junior some material outside of class that continues to stimulate him. The parents and the kid have to take the challenge on themselves, instead of placing it on the school district.

Husband and Wife Lawyer Duo Once Accused of Planting Drugs Now Suing For Defamation [Above the Law]