Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post weighed in today on the crazy proposal in Florida to have teachers grade parents of their students.
Here’s a great excerpt from her piece, titled Legislation: Teachers should grade parents:
Requiring teachers to grade parents is a nutty idea. Some parents work two or three jobs and can’t be as involved as they would like to be, and, besides, teachers have enough to do already.
Even if it were possible to set up a reasonable parent evaluation system, there could be no real enforcement mechanism, at least not in traditional public schools. Private schools, and even public charter schools, quietly counsel kids out for bad academic performance; traditional public schools can’t.
Now that Stargel has shown that she accepts the fact that home life has a major impact on academic performance, she and her colleagues should now ask themselves just how hypocritical it would be to keep pushing “value-added” assessment of teachers.
As most readers know, Rahm Emanuel is favored to become the next Mayor of Chicago, where there is mayoral control of public schools.
In his response to the question “Please explain how you would encourage more parental involvement in the public schools. Do you support tying parental involvement to school funding or what schools should remain open?” he said he wanted a parent “trigger,” parents should sign contracts with teachers saying what they are going to do to support their children’s learning, and give parents report cards on individual schools.
It’s all “transactional,” looking at punishment, rewards, demands (see Being ‘Transactional’ Versus Being ‘Transformational’ in Schools). None of it is “transformational.”
How about finding resources to support teachers making home visits to parents of their students to get to know them? How about directing city resources so that schools could provide supportive social services to families, like they do in the Harlem Children’s Zone? How about encouraging schools to connect with other local neighborhood institutions to identify and respond to broader community problems (safety, affordable housing, etc.) that affect family’s lives and student learning?
Why am I not holding my breath?
The Los Angeles Times just published a surprising good editorial critical of the parent trigger law. Here’s one line I especially like:
Parent trigger must not become a means for private charter groups to get free school buildings through secret proceedings.
Latino parents’ efforts to cultivate empowerment and inclusion are paying off on multiple levels in Forest Grove schools is a nice article in The Oregonian newspaper. It describes one school where parents are taking leadership, and it appears to be encouraged by the school administration.
Definitely worth a read.
Maybe This Is Why Attacking Teachers Is So Popular…And Why It’s So Important To Speak Positively About Our Students is the title of a post I’ve recently written at my other blog.
It talks about a new study that I think points out why we need to speak positively to parents about their kids.
Parents give Wake school board an earful is the headline of an article in the News Observer.
They’re upset (rightfully, I believe) by the District’s decision to end a longstanding integration policy.
I’m sure the Board there would say they want parents involved in the schools, but I suspect this is not what they would have in mind…
Parents reject Compton’s demand is the title of a post at the Thoughts On Education blog. It gives an update on the parent trigger fiasco in southern California.
What a mess….
It sounds like they’re trying to do a decent job setting-up parent academies in Toronto, unlike in many other places (see Some Of These “Parent Academies” Just Don’t Get It….).
Here’s a quote from the Toronto article:
“For parent academies to be successful they really have to function based on parent voice, so parents tell us what they want to learn and we invent an adult learning model to support that request,” Jim Spyropoulos, a TDSB superintendent overseeing the academies, says.
I just wish it didn’t sound so “social worky” and they were thinking in terms of parents having more of a voice in running the academies, too. That may be the case, but it is not the impression given by the article.
Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post makes an important point in her analysis of President Obama’s State of the Union address. Here’s an excerpt from her column, titled Obama’s faulty education logic: What he said and failed to say:
Obama rightly said that a child’s education starts at home:
“It’s family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done.”
Then why is his administration insisting in pushing policies that evaluate and pay teachers based solely on how well they raise the test scores of their children? How can teachers be solely responsible for what happens to a child outside of school?
Obama spoke about the $4.3 billion Race to the Top competition launched by his Education Department.
“Race to the Top is the most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation. For less than one percent of what we spend on education each year, it has led over 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning.“
Well, not actually.
For one thing, if parent involvement were so important to the administration, you would think it would have been part of “the most meaningful reform” in a generation. It wasn’t.
A few days ago, I posted about a Florida legislator’s proposal to grade parents (see Bill Proposed To Grade Parents — What’s In Florida’s Drinking Water?).
A Florida newspaper just published an editorial against the bill, which also provides more details on the proposal — Stargel Bill to Grade Parents: State Intrusion in Parenting.
I initially heard about this on Richard Byrne’s blog, but was so incredulous I had to do a little more investigating.
It’s true — Texas school districts are having misdemeanor tickets with fines up to $500 being issued to students as young as…six years old. Offenses including leaving class early and using profanity. See a news video about it here, and read more here.
Listen, I understand that some severe student offenses require law enforcement action. But this seems to be going over the line…to say the least. And I don’t think this kind of practice is going to do anything to enhance the parent/school relationship….
Yesterday, I posted about a Florida legislator’s proposal to have teachers grade parents. Late last year, I wrote about a Michigan prosecutors plan to jail parents who didn’t attend parent-teacher conferences.
Now, an Indiana legislator wants parents to perform community service if their child misbehaves in school, apparently targeting instances of bullying.
I’ll admit that punishment can sometimes be effective for some people in some circumstances. But, as most teachers know. punishment generally just teaches the perpetrator to be more careful about being caught the next time. On top of that piece of common sense, punishing parents is just a simplistic approach to a complex problem.
How about if, instead of lashing out at parents, we encourage schools, and provide them the resources they need, to put more energy into genuine parent engagement, including providing supportive family services?
Historian and author Diane Ravitch sent two tweets in response to this post that carried a lot of wisdom. “This is in the context of let’s just punish someone: Punish teacher, fire principals, close schools, punish parents. Nuts” she wrote, “To the corporate reform movement, accountability = punishment. Now they turn to parents. But teachers are still at risk.”
A legislator in Florida is proposing a bill that would have teachers grade their student’s parents on their school participation.
Now, THAT would really do wonders for teacher-parent relationships…
Linda Perlstein has a good piece exploring the consequences of such a bill.
If you combine this crazy scheme with all the other unhelpful ideas Governor Scott and Michelle Rhee are cooking up, you gotta’ wonder if there’s something in Florida’s drinking water — at least in some portions of the state….
A message of Hope – Dr. Debbie Pushor on Parents as Partners is the title of a post at Parents As Partners. It’s a summary of an online talk and chat with Dr. Debbie Pushor, who has written on parent engagement.
You can find a link to the Elluminate recording of her talk there, too.
State faces a moving target in implementing ‘parent trigger’ law is the title of an article in today’s Los Angeles Times.
It offers good information and analysis.
A St. Louis school is paying families if they attend parent-teacher conferences.
That’s a bad idea.
You can read why it’s a bad idea at my post last September at The Washington Post, Why paying parents to attend school events is wrong.
Erik Wells Proposes West Virginia Bill That Would Revoke Parents’ Licenses For Children’s Truancy is the headline in the Huffington Post about another proposed punitive “parent engagement” strategy.
If only public officials put as much time and energy into creative and positive ways to engage parents in public education….
Former lawmaker won’t support changing ‘parent trigger’ law is an article from California Watch that provides interesting information, and it appears that trigger proponents don’t really have a grasp on how different an effort to unionize workers is from talking to parents, teachers, and districts about their schools. You can read my perspective on that difference here.
It’s also worth reading the comments on the California Watch article. As I’ve posted earlier, implementation of final rules for implementing the parent trigger has been delayed by the California Board of Education.