Report Cards for Parents? FAIL!

Julie Ryan Evans

report cardIn Florida, state representative Kelli Stargel has introduced a bill that would grade parents on participation in their child's education. Right there on the child's report card, parents would receive a mark of "satisfactory," "unsatisfactory," or "needs improvement." And here ladies and gentleman we have the first attempt to put a bona fide helicopter parent law on the books.

If it does become law, the grade would be based on three things as stated in the bill by Stargel: 1) A child should be at school on time, prepared to learn after a good night's sleep, and have eaten a meal; 2) A child should have the homework done and be prepared for examinations; and 3) There should be regular communication between the parent and teacher.

All good things, no doubt, but what about teaching our children individual responsibility? I already question if I should be as involved as I am in my son's education.

Before he started first grade this year, people told me to get ready for the big change, that this was the year homework really starts full-force. That my life was about to change.

MY life? Why would my life change? His would no doubt as he would have to make time to do it, but mine wouldn't be affected other than making sure he had a pencil. It would not be the mommy-and-Nolan homework hour; it was his homework, and he'd do it.

Oh how wrong and naive I was. All his homework has to be physically signed by me, which means I have to review all of it with him. There are notes and instructions for parents nearly every night. And while he's in a private school and the expectations may be a bit more than some, a check with friends across the country tells me few children are actually doing their homework on their own these days.

What happened? When I was growing up, my parents never even looked at my homework until there was a grade on it. They may have asked if I'd done it, but they left it up to me to make sure I had. If I didn't do it correctly, then my teacher and I would work it out, and I would learn.

Now we have to hold their hands each and every step along the way? I just can't help but imagine we're all going to be living in parent-child dorms at universities some day.

Yes, parents should be involved, and encouraging that is great, but giving parents a grade isn't the way to do it. We're already judged enough for our efforts without having a teacher give us a bad mark. Instead of fostering a sense of partnership between parents and teachers, it seems it would likely create a greater divide with issues of blame. And, most importantly, the last thing children today need is another excuse to not be responsible for themselves and their choices. 

Do you think parents should be graded for their involvement in their child's education?

Image via laszlodemo/Flickr

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