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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Here's the Bill

After a rumbling sound emerging from the bowels of my car that could no longer be ignored by turning up the volume of the radio, I accepted reality, combined with my ignorance of things mechanical, and trudged into the local auto dealership. I drive the car 50 miles each day, to and from work, with little idea of how it works. I know there are pistons and spark plugs, valves and hoses... but that's about the extent of my knowledge.

The phone call from the service department could well have been conveyed in another language other than English. It was replete with acronyms, slang, and unknown terms that left me bewildered. When they arrived at the final cost of services there was nothing I could say. After all, how would I know what each part cost, or how long it took to replace? So, whether they said it would be $200.00 or $600.00, who was I to claim otherwise. I paid the bill.

On the way home from the garage, I realized that too many parents leave school after attending conferences with the same forlorn, perplexed, sense of resignation I felt when handed the bill because, like my puzzled mind sorting through terms and concepts that were foreign to me, they are often left in a fog of educational acronyms and esoteric data. Questioning educators by seeking clarity may expose the parent as less intelligent than they really are and serves to reinforce an asymmetrical knowledge relationship where the teacher holds power due to their possession and use of unknown phrases or uncertain meanings. Rather than expose their lack of understanding in an issue considered significant (the education of their child), the parent likely accepts the outcome and walks away as I did after paying the bill for car repairs.

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