Context: I asked a mid-level state education official (Mr. A) to forward all the state ed memos he receives via email, as they come in. These memos are important because they lay out actions that the state requires local school districts to carry out. For example, there's one that says that school nurses are required to inform the parent if a child goes to the nurse's office with an injury sustained in school, or a suspected infectious disease. Once I find such a state ed memo about something that my district should be doing but hasn't done, and refuses to do, I can request that Mr. A follow up and explain to my district what is required. The state ed department does not have the memos collected in one central web location. The ones that I have found, I have found more or less by accident. They are powerful things to have for advocacy and activism.
Mr. A passed me off to a listserv that state ed maintains for keeping parents updated. He said that if I subscribe to it I will get the memos. I subscribed; I requested, and was sent, a copy of the archived messages as well. I discovered that through this subscription, parents don't get any useful information. I am ready to write back to Mr. A. (Please don't suggest I try someone higher up at state ed. I've tried that, and they send me back to Mr. A.)
Sorry if that was too long. If someone can boil it down please be my guest.
Here's the sentence I need to clean up:
They don't give parents jacksh&t.
Here is some documentation of that expression: http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/jack-shit
I need something succinct and expressive but without a four-letter word. Mr. A is someone I don't need to beat around the bush with; but "jacksh*t" is not a word I can use with him.
I know a way of saying this in Mexican Spanish, if this helps anyone:
Nos están dando atole con el dedo.
This means they are feeding us gruel with a finger (rather than a spoon). It's extremely effective in Mexico. That's the kind of expression I'm looking for, but in English.
The best I've come up with so far:
They don't give parents jacks**t.
Normally I wait a lot longer than this before accepting an answer, but I wanted to get the email out, so I went with diddly-squat. I may as well go ahead and click the checkmark now. If someone comes up with something better, I'll use it next time! (Something tells me there will be a next time, sooner or later....)
My finished product:
[...] Also, I signed up for the listserv as you suggested, and asked them to send me the messages I had missed so far. They did. Unfortunately I discovered that the listserv does not give parents diddly-squat. It was a good idea, though, and I'm glad we tried. [...]