When Brownwood Parents Help with School Projects

What does an elementary school science fair and a research paper have in common? They’re projects that elementary teachers often assign their students to see which parents are willing to spend the most time helping their child to receive a good grade. Local elementary principal Edith Ruth explains, “we know going in that these projects are too hard for the kids, we just assign them to give the parents something to do.”

smarterThis past week’s Brownwood Science Fair proved to be no exception. Ruth said that many science fair projects went above and beyond, which shows the town really has some parents who get creative with their child’s work. “We had second grade students who turned in projects that demonstrated centripetal and centrifugal force. We weren’t sure how to grade it, we didn’t even know what it was, so we gave the kid a 100!” Ruth was pleased that this year none of the students set up a display to demonstrate how crystal meth is made, “this is usually a problem over at Northwest Elementary, but thankfully it didn’t happen this year.”

The problem doesn’t stop with science fairs though. Ruth said she has experienced a student turning in a report that compared and contrasted the early jazz pioneers with the African-American cultural expressions in the midwest. At some point it becomes very obvious when parents help out with research projects. “Last week, our teachers could tell that Mitch actually wrote his report, because he thought we never read them and simply transcribed the theme song to “‘The Jeffersons’ for 5 pages. When a kid who usually picks his nose writes a paper about the Harlem Renaissance, we know something is up. Clyde can’t even spell banana, let alone deconstruct the seminal works of Zora Neale Hurtston.”

To make matters even worse, Ruth shared with us that some students knew their parents weren’t intelligent enough to help with their research, so they went online to find help. “The worst was Eddie. He signed his paper “Xingming Tongyong” and hastily scribbled “Eddie” next to it. We suspect he got a Chinese Mainland student to write it for him. The plagiarism skills of these students are quite lacking. We’ll work on those skills once they reach middle school.”

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