In Florida, parents could be seeing a new grade on their K-3rd grade child’s report card: parental involvement. This new, and controversial, bill proposal made by Florida state Rep. Kelli Stargel would ask teachers to rate a student’s parents with one of three choices – “satisfactory”, “needs improvement”, or “unsatisfactory”.
The grading criteria would include these three aspects:
- A student should be on time, have had a good night’s rest and have had a meal.
- A student should have homework completed and be ready for tests or quizzes.
- A parent should communicate regularly with the teacher.
“We have student accountability, we have teacher accountability, and we have administration accountability,” Stargel said. “This was the missing link, which was, look at the parent and making sure the parents are held accountable.”
Many in Florida think this might a step in the right direction. Some teachers agree that having a parent involved in the education of a child significantly improves the child’s learning and behavior. Parents are intrigued, for the most part.
Critics of the proposal say that it won’t work. First grade teacher Sharon Francis said, “I think those parents that are not going to show up or not do anything, it’s not going to faze them, whether you put ’unsatisfactory.’ ” She works with students primarily from poor homes.
CNN education contributor and founder of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Conn., Steve Perry disagrees as well.
He counters that “a good education is based on what a child learns in the classroom.” He continued with the assertion that teachers are not trained to judge parenting skills and it could be completely arbitrary.
On the other hand, mother Kim Granger said she “would not mind at all.” She said if you are “involved with your children when they’re littler, when they grow older, they’re more stable, more willing to sit down and do the work.”
No matter the opinions and sides that are taken, this “unique notion” is certainly one that will have both teachers and parents thinking more about their effect on a child’s education. The formative learning years for children are primarily in these grades, and the education they receive early on does affect their learning even into higher education. Many students, who begin a higher degree program, oftentimes do not finish it. Others do not pursue higher education at all. People who do not have the opportunity to attend school traditionally, or can’t complete at the time, have found that online education is a viable alternative.