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Parent report card proposal stirs debate

Who's judging whom? Parent report card proposal stirs debate

There's a movement afoot for teachers to start issuing report cards... on parents! How would you feel about being graded by your child's teacher? One Florida state lawmaker is proposing just that. NBC Education Correspondent Rehema Ellis reported the story for TODAY, and it got her thinking about her own parental participation.

NBC News Correspondent Rehema Ellis

By Rehema Ellis, NBC correspondent

As I researched this story, it made me think about my own family. I asked myself, would I mind being graded as a parent?

All my son's life -- he's 8 years old now and in the second grade -- I've embraced the notion that my school days are starting anew.  Of course, the big difference now is that I'm in the teacher/tutor role. I make him breakfast every morning and sit down with him. I read all the school notices and frequently communicate with his teachers and the school. There's a big payoff:  I know how he's doing in school and his report card has never been a surprise. (And I should add, he's doing really well in school.)  

So, based on my involvement in my son's school life, I think I'd get a pretty good parent report card. Still, I got to thinking: What kind of grade would I get if I missed a few school notices or didn't check all of his homework? It could happen, because as we all know parenting isn't easy. Parents, especially those who work outside of the home, have long days on the job, often exhausting commutes, and frequent challenges to keep the house in order AND keep an eye on what's happening in their child's school.  

Susan Rayburn, the principal at Lincoln Elementary School in Plant City, Fla., told me that grading could jump-start involvement from parents who are not actively engaged in their child's education. But she also cautioned that if not handled properly, the parent report card could be a turnoff. Some parents could feel intimidated, she said. If the bill passes in the Florida legislature, Rayburn said she hopes teachers use the parent report card "as a tool for partnership versus a 'gotcha.' " 

She makes a great point. After all, the ultimate goal is to help children do better in school. If the parent report card is used, as she says, to "showcase what parents are doing and then help bridge that gap for what they are not doing,"  everyone's grades would improve ... kids AND parents.

by on Apr. 30, 2012 at 10:55 AM
Replies (201-210):
LovingSAHMommy
by on May. 2, 2012 at 9:41 PM
1 mom liked this

It is no one's business or right to judge me as a parent. That, to me, is insulting. I know that I'm a great parent, and I don't need anyone elses approval.

celticgodess
by on May. 2, 2012 at 9:50 PM

I think it's an interesting idea.  Unfortunately I think the ones who would do poorly are the ones who wouldn't give a crap!

rockyhugs35
by on May. 2, 2012 at 9:53 PM
Wonderful idea!
Cake.Lady
by on May. 2, 2012 at 10:13 PM
I'm not the one in school. I would more than likely roll my eyes if 'i' received a report card. My kids are straight A students & grade levels above their peers. Mind your business. I do my job by making sure they get to school every day. Their homework & projects are their's, not mine.
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jeda1429
by on May. 2, 2012 at 10:14 PM
2 moms liked this

I think this is a terrible idea. I am all for parental participation, but some people have circumsatances in their life that are beyond their control and they are working their butt off to be the best parents they can be and still they fall short of teacher expectations. Need I mention that some teachers have far higher expectations for parents and children than others and lets face it sometimes the expectations are simply unattainable. I don't think that making anxious paranoid parents is in any way beneficial to the children. Maybe instead they could try incentives for parents who are involved, and working with the parents in a respectful manner to help them reach their parenting goals. I think that grading parents, and treating them like they are children is completely disrespectful and undermining to the parents authority.  If you as a teacher see something that is abusive or neglectful call cps, but otherwise bring up issues in a respectful and appropriate manner. 

Jalestra
by on May. 2, 2012 at 10:34 PM
1 mom liked this

 I think this is more an argument of perspective. *I* would say teachers work for the community, which is also the parents myself. It doesn't become the government's money or why would we want our government to account for how they spend *our* tax dollars (or our money).

However, in a couple of the other woman's posts I've seen some of what her problem is, she considers an employee as less than the boss, so she therefore finds it insulting to be called the parents employee because she seems to feel it makes her less than the parent. 

IMO, however, the parent does wield the most power. I mean, the teachers are valuable, but ultimately my child my decision and that's the end of that. I pay the bills, I feed and clothe, I stay up all night with them and take care of them when they are sick. It's not disrespect to say that the teacher is secondary to me in regards to my child, which includes their education. 

IMO, teachers don't get my respect for being teachers, too many bad ones out there, however, several of earned my respect and it's very nice to work as partners instead of having to assert my authority. All of us are aware of where the importance is placed in our respective positions and I hold the highest as these are my children, however I respect their knowledge and experience and pay great attention when they advise me in how to proceed with their education.

If that makes someone feel "less important" so be it. That's the facts.  The teacher is not there to boss me around, order me, or judge me in any fashion. S/he is there to teach. If she does her job, I will support her 100%. If she tries to stick her nose in my job, we'll have problems. I don't come try to do her job, she can stay out of mine. I'm so glad we now live in a place where everyone remembers who has what job. I had to do a little reminder with last year's teacher, but she was a good teacher and she was set straight quickly. This year, not a single problem. The teachers and I work very well together and they have been invaluable in assisting me with a behavior issue with one of the children.

Arianna
by Member on May. 2, 2012 at 10:37 PM

I am a homeschooler, but if my son did go to school, I don't think I would mind this. 

I don't think it will work for or help with certain parents/families...but on a personal level, I would be aiming for the "parent honor roll".  :P

Mama, Wife, Homeschooler, Director of Religious Education, and Pagan UU Panentheist.


vinalex0581
by Member on May. 2, 2012 at 10:38 PM

I don't think it would be right and I can't see parents being all for this. 

Parents don't want to be graded and judged on how to raise their children. 

I think that if it does happen that parents should be able to grade their children's teachers. I think it would only be fair. 

MOM3026
by on May. 2, 2012 at 10:42 PM

I would have to agree with this personally.

Quoting Jalestra:

 I think this is more an argument of perspective. *I* would say teachers work for the community, which is also the parents myself. It doesn't become the government's money or why would we want our government to account for how they spend *our* tax dollars (or our money).

However, in a couple of the other woman's posts I've seen some of what her problem is, she considers an employee as less than the boss, so she therefore finds it insulting to be called the parents employee because she seems to feel it makes her less than the parent. 

IMO, however, the parent does wield the most power. I mean, the teachers are valuable, but ultimately my child my decision and that's the end of that. I pay the bills, I feed and clothe, I stay up all night with them and take care of them when they are sick. It's not disrespect to say that the teacher is secondary to me in regards to my child, which includes their education. 

IMO, teachers don't get my respect for being teachers, too many bad ones out there, however, several of earned my respect and it's very nice to work as partners instead of having to assert my authority. All of us are aware of where the importance is placed in our respective positions and I hold the highest as these are my children, however I respect their knowledge and experience and pay great attention when they advise me in how to proceed with their education.

If that makes someone feel "less important" so be it. That's the facts.  The teacher is not there to boss me around, order me, or judge me in any fashion. S/he is there to teach. If she does her job, I will support her 100%. If she tries to stick her nose in my job, we'll have problems. I don't come try to do her job, she can stay out of mine. I'm so glad we now live in a place where everyone remembers who has what job. I had to do a little reminder with last year's teacher, but she was a good teacher and she was set straight quickly. This year, not a single problem. The teachers and I work very well together and they have been invaluable in assisting me with a behavior issue with one of the children.


jeda1429
by on May. 2, 2012 at 10:47 PM
1 mom liked this

I must also add that I have had a terrible experience with my son's teacher this year and her complete lack of communication . I have a son on the autism spectrum who is in the gifted program at his school. This situation brings on many challenges. He gets pulled out of classes to do social skills training, and sometimes misses material. He was being pulled out of advanced math class and was getting a D at the begginning of the year. He has never had anything lower than an A before in math. The teacher assured me that it had nothing to do with the fact that he was missing class time . I insisted that they work out a better time for him to be pulled out and now he's getting a B. Comunication is essential in a situation like this and I cannot count the number of e-mails I have sent her that have gone unanswered. Not to mention she would corner me at school functions to talk about issues that had arrisen- in front of other parents. Um.....hello answer my e-mails, give me a call. Discuss things in the appropriate time and place.  I have the utmost respect for teachers as I was a preschool teacher for many years but I hate to say it- not every teacher is a good one. Who's grading them? Sorry guys I don't mean to offend anyone, and this is probably a little harsh, but I just think that sometimes blaming the parents is a cop out.

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