Saturday, January 29, 2011

What If Teachers Graded Parents?

That's a proposal being put forth by Florida state rep Kelli Stargel. Teachers would be required to grade parents as satisfactory, unsatisfactory or need improvement. The bill contains three criteria for the grade:

  • 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 prepared for examinations.
  • There should be regular communication between the parent and teacher.
Now I might add that the students comes to class with everything they need (paper, pencils, textbook, calculator, etc) to the list.

Not everyone thinks this is a good idea of course. It will take extra time for teachers (and I don't see anyone offering extra pay for extra work in education). The other arguments against it seem to be of the grading parents will cause confrontation and bad feelings (as if grading teachers, which many support, would never do this).

I know there are some teachers on here (and I am a former teacher) and there are parents I would have LOVED to grade. I had a student that missed 35 days of class one semester yet his parents insisted that his grade was somehow all my fault. You know, I can't teach someone who isn't there. It's not uncommon for parents not to return or respond to repeated phone calls and emails, although they sure respond to a low grade on a report card! If your student can't stay awake or keeps trying to bring breakfast into class, well, there is a problem happening before the student walks in the door that the teacher doesn't have any influence over yet is expected to overcome these issues. If you come to my class with no book, no pencil, no paper and no calculator, you are going to have a tough time. All of this before the teacher even gets a chance to do the job.

I have never once had a parent say they sucked at parenting yet I know many to whom that terminology applies. Parents don't tend to be a very self-critical lot and maybe turning the tables and grading the parents would be a good way to get them to wake up and smell the toast burning.


Huck Finn said...

Great Idea, and parental grades should be made public.

hale-bopp said...

I forgot to mention, maybe tie the child income tax credit to parental grades.

OrbsCorbs said...

I'm still cogitating on this, but I think I like the idea, at least in theory. In practice, it might be thorny.

I also think I like the idea of tying the grade to tax credits, or perhaps even other incentives.

I do not envy teachers today. My sister is a retired high school teacher, but her school was in a fairly affluent district. They had problems, but nothing like what I read and hear about in RUSD.

The fact that children keep having children and the collapse of the nuclear family in the inner city severely compounds the problem. Many of these "parents" have no idea of what the job entails. Some simply do not care. They may well be functionally incapable of raising a "normal" child because they were not raised as such themselves and have few role models to emulate.

Sassa said...

I have often said there is no book on how to be a parent. You learn from your parents, friends, siblings. Some times it's hard. Sometimes you want to correct other parents but who is to say you are right. Why do we get a very good child and a hoodlum in the same family? Sometimes you want to do everything for the child that you wished happened to you as a child. turned out who's right?

kkdither said...

There are so many reasons why children fail. We, as a society, are not providing a good environment for success.

In truth, we need to stop the blame game. Placing blame on parents won't cause student achievement to improve. We are all responsible for the failure. We all need to grow up and concentrate on the final product.

Kids come from such horrible places these days. If you stop and listen to their stories, you would be amazed. There is homelessness. There is hunger. There are parents who don't give a crap. There are kids raising their younger brothers and sisters because their parents are non-present for whatever reason. There is the media that pumps children full of sex, drugs and bad lifestyles as the norm.

We need to fund schooling. We need responsible school boards who don't squander funds. We need teachers who are allowed to teach without such strict guidelines that force us to go too quickly with those who don't understand the basics.

We need common sense brought back to society as a whole. The greed, the corruption has to stop.

Toad said...


Toad said...

OOP'S the jail's are already full.

drewzepmeister said...

Excellent response, kk!

I've got a story here. My 13 year old is failing in a couple of classes. As a responsible and concerned parent, what do I do? Get on him, of course. He is being punished and a mandatory homework time is being enforced. He goes home to his mother and the opposite happens.

As you see here, two separate sets of parents and rules. Nothing is consistent. What can I do about this? I'm at wit's end. The courts can't help me out here. After all, my son isn't in any immediate danger. Secondly, do I want to put my son through the pain into choosing between parents?

On top of that, I've got the the "no child left behind" program to deal with. (Which is a whole new rant I have).

I'm not blaming the teachers nor the parents hers. Lord knows both sides have enough shit to go through. As kk mentioned in her comment,"We, as a society, are not providing a good environment for success." I agree with her.

As a parent, I'm trying my best under the circumstances...

hale-bopp said...

Lots of good discussion. I agree with Orbs...the practice is where things could get dicey. Of course I say the same thing about merit pay schemes for teachers...great in theory but the practice I have seen leaves much to be desired.

I taught Upward Bound kids for several summers. That was a long time ago. I had a student who came to school upset and I asked her why. Her brother was shot the night before. I asked her why she came in that day and she said it was the only place she was safe. I visited several of their homes and it really pisses me off when I hear people ragging on welfare about how they enjoy cable tv...they might have had cable tv but during the summer many of them didn't have electricity since the power company shut it off for non-payment (in Michigan, they were not legally allowed to shut off your power in the winter...the families would scrimp and save all summer to pay the bill so it could get turned on again by next winter.)

In the end you are right, kk. Blaming parents won't do the trick, but looking at what teachers go through, I definitely understand the urge to make the point that the problem is a lot more complex than bad teachers.

kkdither said...

If you spend any time in the schools, you will see that the bureaucracy is huge. Those at the very top are justifying their huge salaries. They, in my mind, are nothing but hot air and pretentious.

Preposterous "changes" are constantly made for "improvement sake." Usually it is just a wild idea put forth for someones capital gain, ego or simply job security. Then you get to middle management... who have very little power. They are propelled to justify their existence by the crazy top. Rules, law, paperwork make them pretty ineffective.

I get really angry when people bash and blame teachers. Just like any profession has bad eggs, they do too. However, teachers, good teachers, have their hands overfilled with what societies ills have now spilled into the classroom.

The very best teachers burn out very quickly. It is hard to leave your job behind when you know the safety, health, mental well being and development of many of these students (whom you begin to love) is in your hands. You might be the only adult who really cares about them at this point in their lives.

The only thing you can do is keep going. Keep playing within the crazy system to do the very best you can that day for as many kids as you can.

educationreform said...

In an organization, Pareto's 80/20 rule applies. 80% of the problems are caused by the top 20% of management. But to answer the question, the golden rule applies: "he who has the gold, rules". or when teachers pay parents salaries.