Grade the parents?

Dad teaching son how to ride a bike
This dad gets a B- due to no helmet.

Should teachers be able to grade the parents of their students?

Florida state rep. Kelli Stargel (R) thinks so. She’s working on a bill that would give elementary school teachers that power.

“We have student accountability, we have teacher accountability, and we have administration accountability,” Stargel told CNN in January. “This was the missing link, which was, look at the parent and making sure the parents are held accountable.”

As Stargel envisions it, parents of K-3 kids would be graded on three criteria:

  • A child should be at school on time, prepared to learn after a good night’s sleep, and have eaten a meal.
  • A child should have the homework done and be prepared for examinations.
  • There should be regular communication between the parent and teacher.

Educators interviewed by CNN had mixed reactions to the idea. Sharon Francis, a first-grade teacher, didn’t think it would have any effect on the parents who need the most help. “It’s not going to faze them,” she said, “whether you put ‘unsatisfactory.'”

CNN education contributor Steve Perry pointed out another possible glitch: “There is nothing in any teacher’s training that would put them in a position to be able to effectively judge the parenting of one their student’s parents.”

But kindergarten teacher Teresa Hill likes the idea: “This is the real world. You don’t always get a superior rating if you’re not doing a superior job. That’s life…. We grade our children based on their performance. Why should the parents be any different?”

Writing in the Orange County Register, Mark Uyemura wonders how a teacher could really know what kind of meal or how much sleep a child is getting. Also, he writes, “Sometimes it goes much deeper than just a lack of parental caring. Many kids just don’t have a loving and positive support system in place to put it all together. They come from broken homes, are affected by poverty, exposed to crime, and surrounded by negative role models; how would you perform if you had one or all of these odds stacked against you as a child?”

The bill is still under revision, but what do you think?

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Have a better idea for how to achieve the goal of alert, prepared, well-rested, and well-fed students?

Please add your comment below.

5 thoughts on “Grade the parents?”

  1. They already do. The homework the kids bring home they are unable to do alone anyways. It’s really homework for the parents.

  2. I would like to see children more in the care of their families and less in the care of the state. School is good for kids who’s families don’t know how to care for them and in those cases the state can pitch in and feed them when they get to school, make sure they get a nap if they need it, provide counseling, and proper clothing if needed. For children who’s families are able to care for their children I believe homeschooling is the way to go. There just needs to be a shift in society that gives families back the confidence to raise their own kids.

  3. Educate parents instead of grading them. Encourage them by teaching them better ways to support their chidren’s growth. Help them instead of judging them.

  4. Isn’t it the job of a parent to ensure success for the child? Parents should be held accountable for attendance and “child support” in school. Most schools are using some type of electronic grading system which allows them to track all missing work. Missing work and attendance are probably the 2 biggest factors contributing to retention. Parents should sit with their student and work on homework together-that’s what quality parenting is!

  5. As a teacher, it’s depressing to see parents who are uninvolved in their child’s education. Rating those parents as doing an “unsatisfactory” job won’t change anything. We already document tardies, missing assignments, and excessive absences. The trick is to recognize those kids and figure out how you can help them to succeed when you know they will not be getting support at home.

    On the flip side, as a parent I am frustrated when assumptions and generalizations are made about parenting skills and choices. My son participates in a Title I funded day care program at his school (the only option available there). It’s free, which is lovely. However, he’s required to stay there three hours per day or risk being pulled from the program. The assumption is that if I take him out early he’ll be plopped in front of a television or in some other way neglected. Exceptions are made if you can prove there’s a sports practice schedule, dance, or some other enriching activity. This means my 5-year-old’s school day goes from 7:30am-5:45pm.

    I appreciate what this offers children who fit the description from the Orange County Register quote (above), but as a working mom who wishes I had more time to spend quality time with my child to read stories, play in the yard, walk to Grandma’s house, etc. it is frustrating that we cannot do these things except on the weekends.

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