A Florida bill that would require teachers to grade parent performance on their children’s report cards is causing an outcry this week. Does it make sense to judge parents on how well they’re doing given the importance of parental involvement, or is it counter-productive?
The bill is meant to “set standards for parental accountability,” and seems like a logical step in the abstract given the importance of family background on a child’s success in school. But teachers and administrators are complaining about the amount of work it will create for teachers along with a potentially “hostile” relationship between parents and teachers.
Although the bill outlines broad responsibilities for parents up until the 12th grade, the report cards would only go out to parents from preK to third grade. Here are the categories that parents would be graded on:
” (a) Parental response to requests for conferences or communication.
(b) The student’s completion of homework and preparation for tests.
(c) The student’s physical preparation for school that has an effect on mental preparation.
(d) The frequency of the student’s absence and tardiness.”
The bill doesn’t say why the report cards would only apply from preK to third grade. It is true that many educators consider this is a crucial time period when children are learning to read, and when parent modeling and reading at home can be a key factor in helping kids read on time and with fluency. It’s unclear, however, that the report cards will instruct parents on the steps they need to take to live up to the requirements, or to do the work of helping their children get ready to read, and it’s hard to grade someone on something they haven’t been taught.