*”The state of Florida has lost its mind,” I said to myself after I heard about HB 255, Parental Involvement and Accountability in the Public Schools bill. It was introduced by State Rep. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland and the controversy about this bill is that it would require elementary school teachers to grade parents.
That would just be insane, right?
Apparently many think so. I’ve read a few editorials and heard interviews in which educators and analysts feel that such a bill would only serve to put a greater strain on home-school relationships and even make that relationship more combative.
But I live in Los Angeles and grading performance is nothing new. It’s just how we approach life.
We’ve graded schools and teachers and to be transparent it had dusted up a fuss and in one case resulted in a tragedy. You might recall last year Rigoberto Ruelas, 39, a teacher at Miramonte Elementary School, killed himself when the Los Angeles Times rated him as ineffective in a report they released that rated teachers based on their students’ progress on standardized tests. Needless to say the Times took a public flogging from the analysis and data they published and that tragedy is one we will never forget.
On the lighter side, in Los Angeles we grade restaurants. That grading system has been very effective. I always look for a restaurant that has an “A” in the window. I often joke when I see an “A” in the window of a restaurant I’ve always believed was questionable if that resturant bought their rating in the underground market.
When I think about it realistically, why not grade parents. It’s time. Perhaps if they were graded, not only would their performance improve, their child’s would too.
The bill proposed by Stargel is not as ominous as some have exclaimed. It’s actually elementary and totally within one’s parental scope of responsibility.
In essence, parents would be given a grade of’ satisfactory’, ‘needs improvement’ or ‘unsatisfactory’ based on how they communicate with the school, their child’s attendance, and their child’s academic and physical preparedness for class. Parents would also be graded on the quality of their involvement in their child’s school.. Imagine getting a report card right along with your child. It could be a little disconcerting at first, but what an opportunity to look at how you can help improve your child’s performance by improving your own before things reach the tipping point.
I remember an incident where a child was about to be expelled from school because he arrived late everyday for the entire first semester. Turns out the parent had to be at work early and wasn’t there to ensure her child got to school on time. She had to make a decision at that point. Her decision was to enlist the help of a family member to ensure her son got to school on time since adjusting her work schedule was not an option at that time. Her son’s performance improved because he was on time for the daily quizzes and not in dean’s office because he was caught up in the tardy sweep.
In light of President’s Obama State of the Union speech, what Stargel is proposing seems to support his objective. The President said, “The responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities.”
We know this.
“Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done,” continued the President.
This seems so fundamental to parenting. But until we embrace and enforce the fundamentals we will continue to live in denial about how we have contributed to our children’s failures in school. It is our responsibility to “poise our children for success” in a world that has changed.
As the President said, it’s a jungle out there. Well he actually didn’t say that, he said competition for jobs is real. Bottom line: it’s a global showdown and we are simply being out gunned by China and India and God know who else is emerging on the horizon.
While you can’t legislate accountability, this bill certain awakens it in those who are asleep. The President is said “The future is ours to win.” It’s time parents come into the stadium and help the players on the field play to win. But first they have to make the grade.
(If you have comments about Veronica’s View, email them to [email protected].)