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Eight new questions parents should ask at back-to-school night

Jinks Middle School students check class schedules, catch up with friends and enjoy breakfast during the first day back to school on Aug. 18, 2016, in Panama City, Fla. (Heather Leiphart/News Herald via AP)

It’s the back-to-school-night season. That means ringing cellphones during the teacher’s presentation (because so many parents are too important to turn them off), attendees breaking the rules and asking specific questions about their own child, parents talking belligerently as if they know more than the teacher, and other such annoyances.

Despite all this, this is no time for parents to be quiet. They just have to ask the right questions — and insist on satisfactory answers.

Yes, parents can still ask teachers old-time questions such as, “How much homework do you give every night,” and “What are your goals for your students in this class?”

They can ask the teacher whether projects are assigned — and what happens if the teacher discovers that the parent, rather than the child, has actually put together 1,000 toothpicks in the shape of the Parthenon.

They can ask about useful education apps, whether their child can meet with the teacher after class, if there is differentiated instruction (assuming parents know what that is), whether students need to bring a computer to class and how to get in touch with the teacher.

And they can ask the following questions, courtesy of the Ohio BATS, a state affiliate of the national Badass Teachers Association, a group that started in 2013 to give voice to teachers tired of being made the scapegoats for problems in public education.

These questions reflect some of the main concerns that many teachers and parent activists have today, including standardized testing and student data privacy.