Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Kelli Stargel

What About the Idea of Parents Receiving Report Cards on Their Performance?

There has been some interesting and thoughtful conversation about the proposed school voucher bill. Thank you to those that have weighed in with their opinions.

Although this ‘out-of-the-box’ proposed legislation is in Florida, I thought the concept was fascinating and wanted to share it. We grade students, schools and school districts but a new bill was filed that would ‘grade’ parents. State Rep. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, the originator of HB 255 bill, thinks that elementary school teachers should evaluate parents. The bill would be applicable for parents of children in grades Pre-kindergarten through third grade.

The bill proposes that parents would get “satisfactory,” “needs improvement” or “unsatisfactory” ratings in four broad categories. The parents’ grades would appear alongside their kids’ grades on the report card. The parents would be judged on (1) their response to requests for meetings or communication; (2) their children’s completion of homework and preparation for tests, (3) their children’s absentee and tardy rates, and (4) their children’s physical preparation for school, including a good night’s sleep and appropriate meals.

The concept is interesting. I have a friend who is a 2nd grade teacher in Philadelphia and she constantly complains about parents not showing up for conferences, and never bothering to call or re-schedule appointments. There are also ongoing problems with children showing up late for school. I can appreciate teacher’s frustrations; but I think that this bill has the potential to increase parent-teacher relations tension. In addition, would this not add to the teachers’ workloads if they had to keep track of parent progress as well as their students? Sounds like this parent-grading concept could create more work and not necessarily change anything.

Rep. Stargel believes that parental involvement is the key to children’s future educational success. She feels that by ‘grading’ the parents, it will force accountability and encourage responsibility for providing the needs of their children. However, should your child’s first-grade teacher be grading you in the first place?

In theory, there is student accountability, teacher accountability and administration accountability, so why not parent accountability? I applaud out-of-the-box thinking, but I am not sure about this idea . . . what do you think?

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