Bizarre Ideas in Education

I’ve written about this before, but I still can’t believe that this insane idea is gaining momentum.  Yes, it’s true that teachers often get frustrated by what they believe is negligent parenting of their students.  Does that give them the right to formally assess their perceived incompetence?

The idea of giving teachers the responsibility to write report cards about their students’ parents is ridiculous.  Yet, the idea is not going away:

Legislation from a Florida lawmaker has parents pondering how they’d be graded on their involvement in their child’s education: satisfactory, unsatisfactory or needs improvement?

Public school teachers in Florida would be required to grade the parents of students in kindergarten through the third grade, under a bill introduced by Rep. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland.

The bill has gotten the married mother of five national attention because there’s been so much emphasis on tying teacher salaries and advancement to student performance.

“We have student accountability, we have teacher accountability, and we have administration accountability,” CNN.com quotes Stargel as saying, “This was the missing link, which was, look at the parent and making sure the parents are held accountable.”

The grading system is based on three criteria that Stargel wrote in the legislation:

• 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.

Unbelievable!  Is it not the child’s responsibility to take ownership over their own homework? Did I just read that a child should have eaten a meal?  If a teacher is aware that their student isn’t being fed, the teacher has a responsibility to notify child protection authorities, not mess around with assessment forms!

Sure there are bad parents out there, but what is a report card going to achieve anyway?  How is a report going to change the error of their ways?

“Thanks teacher.  I needed that. I had no idea I was a bad parent.  I feel so much better now!”

I suppose, teachers needn’t worry.  A policy as silly as this will never be seriously contemplated.  Well, at least I hope not ….

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5 Responses to “Bizarre Ideas in Education”

  1. katharinetrauger Says:

    Thanks, so much, for this post! This information is especially ironic if we realize that parents who long to be accountable for their children’s education (home schoolers!) are so blatantly persecuted in this country where we supposedly have freedom.

    But look at this:

    Last week, a school in Los Angeles sent a little boy to a psychiatric ward without his mother’s leave. Why? Worrying about the fact that his dad had been deployed to Iraq, the boy had drawn a violent picture and had written that he wanted to die, which caused the school to manifest this knee-jerk reaction.

    The mother told school staff she would take her son to a therapist, but she was told it was too late – the ambulance had already (conveniently?) been sent.

    This six-year-old child spent two solid days in a place foreign to him before anyone would let his mother have him back. Of course, this only further traumatized the poor child, as if the trauma of seeing his daddy leave for overseas combat were not enough.

    ParentalRights.org president Michael Farris states, “Clearly, giving school and other government officials complete control in these kinds of situations goes too far.”

    The proposed Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution affirms that “[t]he liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right,” and would help detonate such situations as above.

    Please pass this comment to others you know who might find this action as terrifying as I do.

  2. Katharine Trauger Says:

    What I think? I think our Constitution needs this ammendment. I think it will take manifold years to get it, if we ever do. I think it’s all about money. I think power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I think collective education is socialism so what did we expect. I think taking God out of anything leads to just such shenanigans as this and it will never work until we put Him back (into the schools and into the government that runs them). I think if we took history’s home schoolers and put them all in one room, we’d have a huge brain trust. And I think what I opened with, above: It’s ironic that we persecute the parents who are trying to be accountable for their chidren’s education, in addition, a complete pity that when man leaves his wife and child behind to fight at his country’s bidding, then that country turns and attacks his wife and child.

  3. randomyriad Says:

    I have the same problems with all generalized grading systems, but to have teachers grade parents, when some teachers have never had children of their own. I have worked with teachers who are not parents. They tend to be fairly harsh in their judgments mainly because they don’t understand the challenges of parenting.
    This is only one of many problems with this idea. Generalized grading systems where the person being graded is given one of three marks are using a praise and demerit system which has been shown to be an ineffective method of feedback by most research. It is too unspecific and gives too much power to the teacher, leaving the student, or parent in this case in a defensive position, or when praised, with very little information on what the next step should be. The only process that makes sense is a conversation between collaborators. Either student and teacher, or parent and teacher. The teacher, parents, and the child should be an seen as a collaborators in the child’s development as an educated person. The child should be given as much responsibility as possible in this relationship. In this way the child builds internal motivation rather than relying on external grading or badgering. If teachers are grading parents instead of working with them they are teaching parents poor educational strategies.

  4. Katharine Trauger Says:

    Hoo! And I promise not to believe everything my child tells me about you, if you will promise not to believe everything he tells you about me!

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