So question for you parent and teacher types out there - I need some help navigating the education system here, and how my stepkid, her teacher, and the Accelerated Reader program all interact with each other. Here is the (too long) story.

Stepkid is in third grade, in a Catholic school that she's been attending for two years now. Kindergarten and first grade were in a public school. I've been aware of the Accelerated Reader program ever since first grade, and all her teachers have used it since then. Stepkid is a good reader, and typically scores above her grade level. She enjoys reading, and loves to pick out books she wants to read. This has all been great until this year.

At the beginning of the year, Stepkid took her AR test, and was given an Instructional Reading Level of 5.4, with a Zone of Proximal Development of 3.9-6.0. So, the way the previous grades' instructors took these stats, is they told stepkid to pick any book she wanted to read in that zone, and this was fine.

Third Grade teacher does not do this. New teacher has told Stepkid she must read a book at 3.9 level and score 100% on a quiz before being allowed to read a book at a 4.0 level.

This is insanity to me. I know of no other subject we hold a kid to a 100% standard before they can go on to learn a new skill.

Your own tests state the kid can comfortably read at a 5th grade level. Why are we limiting her to a 3.9? Today my kid read a Magic Tree House book - a series she was reading and enjoying way back in first grade - because it met the magic 3.9 grade level requirement. Not to mention, my kid is turning into one of those kids who no longer reads for fun, but only picks up books if they match her magic AR level. She is not being allowed to take a test on Little House on the Prairie, because the book level is at 4.9 - within her range of development, but not the teacher's magic number she wants her to hit! I mean, I am just incredibly angry right now, that my kid isn't allowed to get a reward for a book that was slightly more challenging - but she read and enjoyed!

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So I asked to meet with the teacher over the issue, through email. The teacher sends me back an email, to include the following incredibly condescending quote:

I know that the AR reading program can be confusing to parents, but there are reasons why we have to do things a certain way for it to work effectively.

Please, Groupthink, help me navigate this pending teacher-parent conference without killing this condescending, over-controlling twit of a teacher.

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Things which are not an option:

-Switching classes. This is a small Catholic school, one class per grade

-Pulling her out of the school. The local public school is terrifying, elementary school kids get beat up regularly.

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-Pissing off the school to an extent that if we stay there next year, Stepkid's 4th grade teacher will hate her.

If anyone can explain to me why this teacher is so out of the norm when it comes to how teachers usually work with AR, or give me advice on how to interact with her, I'd appreciate it. I have been fuming about it all day, but obviously trying to stay calm in the actual meeting itself would probably get me farther.

I also have to go in to the meeting in an enlisted military uniform, so that probably won't help any, since most of the Army people who send their kids to this school are officers. Sigh.