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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 (221-230):
Jalestra
by on May. 2, 2012 at 11:49 PM
2 moms liked this

Quoting cnoelc:

This would be really hard to create a standard for.  In addition to that, our poor teachers are already asked to teach larger and larger class sizes, so to be asked to take this on, also, is asking a lot.  There are already so many things most teachers do outside of what they are paid for, usually due to too much work and too few resources, that this would add to the long list of work that will probably be done outside of work hours.  

Teachers are trained to teach.  They typically have an affinity for working with our kids, and have been required to take multiple courses child psychology in addition to the other coursework.  However, in all of this, they are not trained on how to judge parents, to judge home conditions vs. parental involvement, and many are not parents themselves yet.  Many are, but a lot aren't.  No two parents do it the same way.  So, how do you ask a teacher that has no true insight into dozens of kids homes to accurately judge those parents?

I am a highly involved parent. I do the whole classroom volunteer thing, and I'm a SAHM so I can be there for my kids as much as possible.  They would say too much.  I have also been a teacher.  In my opinion, this is a horrible idea.  

You said that much better than I was trying to say it. The good ones don't have enough time as it is and the bad ones will use it as a weapon. And in the middle is trying to standardize and make judgement calls with a serious lack of information, and/or without the experience to be useful (no children). Not to mention we're taking time away from their children (those that have them). And since it is a judgement, now we're asking them to also deal with the resentment and animosity that's going to be stirred up by doing this at all. Not all parents, but many. 

Bensmommy611
by Member on May. 3, 2012 at 1:08 AM
:-(. I don't agree with this. I don't think that there is a RIGHT way to parent (a wrong way, definitely! Lol). Grade my kids on whether they can spell or add. Those are things that can be graded. But you can't grade a parent on participation alone (some parents work so being active at the school during the day isn't possible) and it's hard to ever really know what's going on at home. I do think teachers should be able to discuss concerns with parents (my son will be entering kindergarten this year so I have not yet had a parent/teacher conference but I'm hoping that's what they use them for!), but I don't like the idea of a report card at all. I don't involve myself in my child's activities so I can get a gold star anyway, I do it because I'm his mom. And I can't imagine negative report cards would go over well with parents who were NOT involved. In a face to face you might try to accentuate the positive (or suggest different strategies......sort of like redirecting a 2 year old), but on a report card, all you see is a big fat F. :-(
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Pinky5511
by on May. 3, 2012 at 1:22 AM
1 mom liked this
I don't like this at all. A teacher is able to grade students on the curriculum that they are an "expert" on. They went to school, got degrees, did the work to know their facts inside and out.

HOWEVER, they are not an "expert" on parenting, child rearing, discipline, or the like. I do not believe that teacher has any right to judge my parenting skills or relationship with my child.

I do however think that a "grading" of the teacher, at predetermined intervals (much like our "parent/teacher conferences", only in reverse) is a smart idea.
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Uzma_mom_of_2
by on May. 3, 2012 at 2:26 AM
1 mom liked this

What continues to baffle me is they want all this parental involvement, and parents teaching their kids, but if you home-school ,you're looked down on. Because I wouldn't follow thier specific curriculum I suppose. Still sound hypercritical to me. 

I've had some d-bag teachers, and I've had some awesome teachers. There is no way I would appreciate being graded because I didn't want to come in and read a story to a class of 7 year olds.

And I've got a toddler. Not always the most mild tempered. Am I supposed to go find a babysitter so I can volunteer at the school?I was already told they didn't want toddlers running around, so I can't bring her along. Would my grade suffer because taking care of my daughter comes before helping out at the "Winter Festival Party"?

How about this, teachers should focus on *gasp* teaching. And protecting those in their care. Sound like a plan? 

Neskita
by on May. 3, 2012 at 3:06 AM
My son's teacher has a "red folder" communication with the parents, I'm a single mom who can't "volunteer, participate and be at every single school function" so this folder helps and I try to work with my son with homework after I get off work! I cannot get the idea of of teachers expecting everything from the parents and/or parents expect everything from the teachers it's a 50/50 situation, end of story!
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greenmachine47
by Member on May. 3, 2012 at 6:48 AM

I think it's a bad idea. Not every child learns the same way,  and not all people  parents the same which doesn't mean a parent is a bad parent or needs to be judged by the schools or teachers especially if a teacher isn't a parent themselves and don't have a clue.

disneymom2two
by Member on May. 3, 2012 at 7:35 AM


Quoting psuedonym:

I like this idea better.

Quoting survivorinohio:

I dont think its a terrible idea but I would LOVE an opportunity to grade teachers.


I dislike  both of these ideas.  Our school does a survey where parents say whether we're doing enough for their kids, whether they (the parents) feel welcome, etc.  One question was about the students of the month type award.  One of my parents said she'd never heard of it.  Hmmmm....funny that in our communication book she wrote how proud she was of her son when he got it the previous month, that she'd gotten it framed and hung it in his room.  Crappy parents are going to stay crappy parents.  The parent who doesn't show up for IEP meetings, who sees no reason to have their child do homework, etc isn't going to change because of a report card.  

tierneylv
by on May. 3, 2012 at 8:11 AM

I would love this! At my last school, I had only 2 parent conferences in 2 years.  Most just never showed up.  Their kids were horrible.

Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on May. 3, 2012 at 8:26 AM


Quoting Uzma_mom_of_2:

What continues to baffle me is they want all this parental involvement, and parents teaching their kids, but if you home-school ,you're looked down on. Because I wouldn't follow thier specific curriculum I suppose. Still sound hypercritical to me. 

I've had some d-bag teachers, and I've had some awesome teachers. There is no way I would appreciate being graded because I didn't want to come in and read a story to a class of 7 year olds.

And I've got a toddler. Not always the most mild tempered. Am I supposed to go find a babysitter so I can volunteer at the school?I was already told they didn't want toddlers running around, so I can't bring her along. Would my grade suffer because taking care of my daughter comes before helping out at the "Winter Festival Party"?

How about this, teachers should focus on *gasp* teaching. And protecting those in their care. Sound like a plan? 

I see a lot of support to those that choose to home-school.

Diva-Mami
by on May. 3, 2012 at 9:06 AM
1 mom liked this
I think its a bad odea. Who decides what the criteria? Does a working mom get a worst grade than a sahm? If I give my kids cookies in their lunch, does that make me a bad parent? Does the grade change if I dont put sugar in the cookies? There are too many factors in parenting. Each family is different, parents different, believes different. Its not like teaching spelling, its right or incorrect. Teachets know which parents are involved and those that arent. And quite honestly those that arent wont get involved just because you send them a report card on their parenting.
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