Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Even they think it's crazy

The topic of FERPA came up before my first class today. Several of the students didn't know what it was, so I explained it. One person asked, "If someone is under 18, can their parents see their grades?" I said I did not know but I would guess yes, because they're still technically a minor.

One of the students commented that FERPA seemed kind of "stupid," but I shrugged and said there were cases where it was useful to us professors. I brought up the issue of helicopter parents, how some parents will call their kid's professor if the kid isn't doing well in class or if the kid has some kind of problem.

And one of the women in the class exclaimed: "Who DOES that!?! We're supposed to be adults! I'm not even sure my mom could tell you the name of the school I was attending!" And one of the men noted that "People that do that need to GROW UP."

I shared the story of the mom who called up a colleague of mine, all mad because my colleague was "giving" her son a D. My colleague responded that FERPA forbid him from discussing grades, but that she might want to ask her son about his attendance in class (this was someone who was present for maybe 1/3 of the classes). She called back a week later to apologize to him.

That got a laugh out of the class. But I'm glad to know there are students who think the whole helicopter-parent-of-college kids thing is out of control. (These are mostly seniors, all pretty responsible people, all science majors).

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