Monday, January 31, 2011

How Would You Measure Up?

If you are willing to let me step on a soapbox to share an opinion please read on.

Florida Representative Kelli Stargel has introduced a bill were K-3 teachers would be required  to grade parents. 

The assessment would be based on three criteria: quoted from article 
"• 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."

As a teacher (and not a parent), I think this is a fantastic idea!  This quote from a article on the topic does a nice job of explaining the rational

"We have student accountability, we have teacher accountability, and we have administration accountability. This was the missing link, which was, look at the parent and making sure the parents are held accountable."

Teacher accountability and judgment has become a bit unrealistic and unfair. I will be the first to admit that there are teachers who are horrible!  Few things (in the world of education) make me angrier than complacent and ineffective educators!  They should be publicly named, denounced and have their licenses revoked.  

But for every horrific teacher I've worked with there have been two terrific, dedicated teachers.  Yet, all the passion, training, and hours in the world can't guarantee students' rate of progress and level of accomplishment.  There are many contributing factors- funding, time, parental involvement, early intervention/education, housing, natural aptitude, hunger, language proficiency, health (mental and physical), disAbility, proximity to violence, etc., as hard as I work and as dedicated as I am to my kids, I can't combate all the outside factors.  As a special education teacher I have multiple examples which illustrate the point that "all kids can succeed , just in different ways and at different times". And how No Child Left Behind is unrealistic, unfair and harmful to my kids (but that is a different post).

Yet, parents (and lawmakers/politicians) judge us. The harsh judgmental, gossip parents spread- verbally, and more and more frequently in public forms like facebook, is inappropriate.  It shows a lack of respect for the time, effort, energy we put into educating their child (and the overall profession)

The sayings about "parents being a child's first teacher"and being a "parent the most important job in the world", are very true and it's time they be assessed.  If they want their child to be successful, parents should be doing all in their power to make that a reality. 

As a special education teacher I've my share of crazy, unreasonable, unfair and unkind parents.  There have also been kind, sweet and appreciative parents.  Some parents are unrealistic, others are too involved, some should be more involved. But it is not acceptable for me tell them that in, someways, they might be doing more harm than good.

I would expand on the three criteria outlined in the proposal.  Naturally, there needs to be some structure and boundaries to ensure the assessment was conducted in a professional and productive form. I'm also curious about the consequences and remediation for a negative grade.

I doubt the bill will pass, but I think it is an interesting idea that should be explored further.

What do you think?


Kelly said...

I also read the article and love the idea...however after I grade my parents, I would need an armed guard to escort me to and from the building daily. I get SO tired of hearing about how we aren't pulling our weight, we do not work in the summer, we make too much and that we are glorified babysitters. I put my heart and soul into my job each day...the least they could do is get their kid to school on time and maybe do homework with them on occasion.

Leigh @ Kesler Expressler said...

I totally understand where you're coming from. I don't think it's a bad idea necessarily, but would it change anything?

I would think that the parents who would get a bad grade from the teacher would be less likely to care about that grade or change as a result of it. If a child is 5-8 years old and the parent has yet to show interest in their learning, why would a bad grade from a teacher change that?

Summer said...

I don't think that teachers should get into grading parents just as I don't believe that parents or students should be grading teachers. It seems senseless and a method of distracting from the most important issue and that is the failure within our systems and culture to raise children who are better educated. Further, there needs to be actions taken to develop teachers who are better educated than our current systems of college and university programs are providing.

To me the entire system of child raising and of education in this country is a shambles.

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