I read recently that Florida representative Kelli Stargel has proposed a bill to allow parents to be graded on their involvement in their kids’ education. She feels that parents should be required to make sure their children get a good night’s sleep, arrive at school on time, and have their homework completed. In addition she thinks parents should be required to communicate regularly with the teacher.
My grandmother would call that “cutting off your nose to spite your face”. I call it a prime example of yet another “leader” going off on a wild goose chase. While the proposal might stir up controversy and publicity, it accomplishes nothing.
Parents who are already doing a good job of preparing their children for school don’t need a report card. They just need a little guidance in specific ways they can help their child be successful in my class. They might like a little encouragement and appreciation now and then, but any competent teacher is going to give that to them without a law requiring it.
Parents who don’t care enough to prepare their children in the most basic ways are NOT going to be intimidated by a piece of paper that says the teacher doesn’t think they are doing a good job. They are going to be angry and uncooperative and resentful. I understand the desire to make parents comply with educational expectations. Years ago I had a child who arrived for the first day of school on the bus. I did not meet his parents until November when I sought them out at a ballgame!! I have students now who are habitually late, fall asleep in class, don’t do homework, don’t return notes, etc. etc. My expectations and my opinions don’t mean two cents to their parents. So I simply return to my philosophy of doing the best I can for and with the students while they are in my care.
And what does Ms. Stargel propose as a consequence of getting a failing grade from the teacher?
This is all part of the “blame game”. It doesn’t help our children if the adults around them are busy pointing the finger of blame at each other instead of working cooperatively to find solutions for real problems. I propose Ms. Stargel spend some more time doing her homework.