Schools break up learning by levels. It’s a somewhat strange and difficult way to sort the pace of learning, especially since the kids are ultimately learning the same materials, but it happens, and sometimes it works.
Redditor boxofcardigans’ son is in the highest level of his school for now. Unfortunately, his best friend is not. And an accidental slip up lead to a slight moment of tension between her and her son’s best friend’s mom.
She went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” to get some feedback on whether she was in the wrong for accidentally slipping up.
“AITA for telling my friend her son isn’t in the gifted program?”
Our original poster, or OP, talked about her son and his friend.
“A little bit of background, my oldest son is 9 years old and has been at the same school since kindergarten.”
“He’s been friends with ‘Joe’ since they were in school together. Joe’s mom, Kelly, has been my friend since then too.”
“We’re fairly close and our families were in a ‘covid bubble’ when school was virtual.”
OP’s son and his friend are in different groups.
“This year the boys are in 3rd grade, and our elementary school splits children up into 3 different groups starting that year.”
“One is the ‘normal’ track, one is accelerated, and one is a little slower to accommodate all the kids’ learning paces.”
“They keep the groups named by animals, so the kids don’t know which group is which. My son is in the ‘kangaroos’ while Joe is in the ‘koalas.'”
“We figured out which group was when my son had already learned 2 weeks ago what Joe was just learning.”
“I confirmed with a few other moms who had their children in the kangaroos group, and my son is in the accelerated program.”
The moms had a light confrontation about the program differences.
“Kelly was talking about a ‘group project’ the kids have to do. They basically have to make a quiz on the material they’re learning and turn it into a kind of game on some website, similar to a multiple choice quiz.”
“My son and his group had done that particular quiz a few weeks ago, and I offered if Joe wanted some ideas, he could ask my son what he did on his.”
“Kelly paused and asked how were Joe and my son in the same class but doing things at different times.”
“I told her my son was in a different group where they must be going through the material quicker. Kelly got a little offended and asked if I thought Joe was in a slow group.”
“I wasn’t sure what to say, but I just explained that my son seems to be in the group that is moving a bit faster, but of course I was not certain because the teachers do that on purpose.”
“Now, Kelly has been a little off with me, and my husband seems to think I shouldn’t have told her or mentioned anything about the groups or my son helping Joe, and that it just made her feel bad. AITA?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors thought there was an underlying smugness in her choice to be “helpful.”
“Be honest, you were smug when you offered to have your son help her son.”
“You could have said nothing, or something neutral like ‘That sounds like a fun project for the kids.'”
“You got called on it. YTA. And who knows, maybe you’re wrong.”~showard995
“Yep! YTA – huge eye-roll to this whole post… you can tell by the way it is written that OP’s head has gotten pretty big with the idea of her son being ‘gifted.’”
“It is ridiculous how parents of normal kids find ways to brag about their child being ‘advanced’ or ‘gifted.’”
“From the sounds of it these boys are in public elementary school. Neither of them has been identified as academically gifted and suggested to move up grade levels or attend a special school.”
“It is pretty common for public schools to have these different learning groups because young children develop at different paces.”
“Example: as a child my daughter was in the ‘slow’ reading group in 1st grade. By 5th grade she tested with extremely high scores in reading (99 percentile), but then she got more remedial scores in math.”
“Therefore, she did not do the advanced math program in middle school. 20 years later, she has since went on to graduate with a degree in finance and go to law school to become a successful professional.”
“So guess what she was a relatively normal child, not ‘gifted/accelerated’ or ‘remedial.'”
“Kids just develop at their own pace for the most part and only a rare minority of children are truly ‘gift/advanced’ where they benefit from moving up grades or attending a gifted school.”
“If this was the case with OP’s son, the school would have let her and her husband know.”~LakeHouseTrouble22
“YTA. I was with you until you felt the need to confirm with other moms that your son was in the accelerated group and then subtly found a way to point that out to your friend.”
“I can’t look into your heart and see your motives, but I suspect that there was some ‘brag’ in there.”~Soiree1999
“YTA. I think once you figured out what was going on, you should have kept it to yourself. If Kelly doesn’t realize that her child is slow, it’s not your place to be the one to tell her.”
“Also, if it’s only a difference of a few weeks, that’s not really all that significant. If your kid was learning algebra while Kelly’s was learning subtraction, then that would be a major difference.”
“So I think you should apologize to Kelly and just assume that the classes are all learning the same things, but have shuffled lesson plans a little.”~WaffleDynamics
Whether or not she meant to humblebrag, she did.
“YTA. I’m sure I’ll get downvoted, but I think you ought to be aware that people can be sensitive to terms like faster and slower in regards to education.”
“You should apologize for being tactless and try to move on if this is a valuable friendship otherwise.”~gapeach2333
“YTA, Specifically because comments reveal there is no evidence there is a gifted or slow class.”
“No teacher, administrator, or anyone related to the school has explained classes being grouped by ability. It’s just OP’s opinion.”
“And whether or not it’s true, you’re an a**hole for suggesting it to another parent like that.”~Lumpy_Mix_2605
“YTA. If you were innocent in all this you would not have mentioned that your kid had already done the work.”
“I have a friend who was annoyed and wanted to know why her kid wasn’t in the advanced maths class at school.”
“I knew why: I won’t go I to it now, but I had seen (legitimately) her kids maths scores and knew they weren’t high enough to qualify.”
“But I played dumb, because she’s my friend and it’s an arsehole move to skite over something like this.”~TitanicOvaries
“YTA because there was zero reason for you to bring it up to her. Ooooh my son did that project ages ago.”
“But he can help your son! Obviously you just wanted to get the info out there that your son was in the accelerated part. So rude. Humble brag at best, even if you weren’t smug about it.”~Snoo_59080
And this kind of fixation on your child performing better or worse than another is leaving an extremely bad taste in Redditor’s mouths.
“The news that a child is performing average is not your business or pay grade to mention to another parent.”
“This should come from the teacher. It sounds like you didn’t intend to humblebrag or flex on the other mom, but you did. YTA.”~snarfblattinconcert
“YTA. You already knew your child was in the gifted group, and asking her if her son wanted ideas from yours seems like an opportunity taken to rub it in a little bit.”
“Also, it’s ridiculous for the school to try to obfuscate on which group each child is in. The parents know, the kids know.”
“It fools no one, and it just indicates to the children that being in the slower group is something to be embarrassed about.”~MalsPrettyBonnet
“YTA. You were subtly bragging. There was no reason to mention anything or offer your sons help.”
“She didn’t ask for it, you simply saw that as the perfect opportunity to let her know your son was in the accelerated group. Most definitely TA.”~ReceptionPuzzled1579
“YTA, because you felt the need to offer your son’s help, like her son was so stupid he couldn’t do it on his on.”
“That would piss me off… Not the fact that my kid was on the slower track but that you assumed my kid is stupid.”
“Also the school/district are AH. I would want to know what track my kids are on be it the highest one or the lowest one.”
“Just freaking tell me and don’t say oh they are on the lizard track or the narwhal track WTF does that mean?”
“I mean I have one kid who takes honors classes, one who is just an average B/C student and one who needs all special ed classes due to special needs.”
“All of them are capable, they just learn different and none of them are stupid. I’d be pissed I’d the school was being all weird and secretive.”~Lord_Dominator_Hawks
Even if OP wasn’t intending to be a show-off, Reddit still thinks she owes the other mom an apology for being tactless.
Hopefully she will heed this advice so that things don’t get weird between the kids.