First we drove around the block and picked up D (lots of one way streets in our neighborhood). Then we drove by the bus stop, and there was E, so I picked her up too. She said that Other M, whose (single) mother leaves early, was still getting dressed, and by now it was quite late (i.e. driving time, not bus time), so I made her call Other M and I got on the phone and said "finish getting dressed right now and come downstairs, I am picking you up in one minute," and we drove around the block again and picked up Other M.
So I drove three seventh graders and one eighth grader to school. First we talked about how small the sixth graders are this year (because we saw a very small one at the next bus stop), and they insisted in complete earnestness that the sixth graders were getting smaller and would brook no consideration of the possibility that they were getting bigger.
Then we talked about Parent's Night, and the super English teacher. D said her mother doesn't like him because he's not challenging, and she likes him, but she agrees he's not challenging. M and I were fairly dumbfounded. M said, "but he had us interpret that poem," and D said they interpreted poems all the time last year. Then she and E started talking about the books they read last year--The Cay (how middle school can you get?) and something else--so I asked how many books they read last year. Five. They read five books in English. Do you know how many books M read in English? None, and, yes, I was irate at the time. So maybe we just have further confirmation of the extreme suckiness of her sixth grade teachers, and yet a school that allows such sucky teachers to teach, with no apparent curricular supervision, does not get much in the way of props from me.
On the other hand (hint: this is a sarcastic on the other hand), M did read a book a day under her desk. In fact, choosing what book to bring to school was always a major piece of the pre-school routine. So reading did happen, albeit of the Gossip Girls/Ruth Reichl type. I think, though, that I'm happier to have that reading happen after school...