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January 27th, 2011
04:30 PM ET

Teachers grade parents on child's education?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

What if, on your child's next report card, the teacher graded you, too? A Florida state lawmaker is proposing exactly that.

State Rep. Kelli Stargel thinks public school teachers should grade the parents of students from kindergarten through third grade. These grades of "satisfactory," "unsatisfactory" or "needs improvement" would show up on the student's report card.

The Republican lawmaker from Lakeland says parental involvement is key to educating children. And she's absolutely right.

According to the proposed legislation, the grading system would be based on three things:

1. The student should show up to school on time and ready to learn, well-rested and fed

2. The student should have done his or her homework and be prepared for any tests

3. There should be regular communication between the parent and teacher

All of which seems perfectly reasonable. Some experts call it a "unique" idea, while others say teachers are in no place to judge parenting.

Florida has been trying to overhaul its public school system for years to make teachers and schools more accountable. But many parents, teachers and lawmakers aren't on board. Last year, then-Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed a bill that would tie teacher pay to the student achievement.

The sad fact is the U.S. needs major changes like that if we want to be competitive in the global economy. And we need these changes yesterday.

A recent international test showed 15-year-olds in the U.S. rank 25th out of 34 countries when it comes to math. They also rank 14th in reading and 17th in science. This is a disgrace.

Guess where China placed? The Shanghai region finished first in all three categories.

Here’s my question to you: Should teachers grade parents when it comes to their child's education?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Charlene writes:
That is a ridiculous idea if I ever heard one. What would the teachers know about the parents, home life, pressures and hardships? It is none of the teachers' business. As a former teacher, I can't think of a worse idea.

Barb in Texas writes:
As a parent who made sure that all three items were accomplished for all three of my kids - and now have one who has become a teacher - I say YES, grade them. My daughter calls parents all the time. She lets them know how their children are performing. Very few ever respond or come in to talk to her.

A.J. writes:
Not only should teachers grade parents, they should be reported in the local newspaper.

Jessica in Texas writes:
I hope they don't bring that to Texas because it's not fair to parents and I would probably get a poor grade. My husband is in Iraq. I have five children ages 15, 9, 7, 5, and 8 months. I try my hardest to help my children with their homework but I can't always help them because I am also trying to cook dinner and tend to a baby when they come home.

Bob writes:
Some wealthy politician whose own children go to private school and have their own tutor must have come up with this. They don't have to deal with old clothes and an empty stomach, let alone the threat of their guardian failing and their buddies finding out.

Tim in Iowa writes:
Teachers grade parents? I think we should grade teachers. Having gone through the public education system, I have had good teachers and some bad. It isn't always the parents' fault. Yes, I think we could do more at home but this crazy.

Robert writes:
My wife was a teacher for 40 years. The students that did the best were those whose parents were interested and on top of what was happening in school. Why not try it? Nothing else has worked.


Filed under: Education
soundoff (158 Responses)
  1. joe conservative

    Wow. I wasn't sure there would ever be anything I would agree with you about. This is one. Here are some of the fundamental policies that need to happen.
    1) Pay must follow success
    2) Choice to go to any school which teaches the core subjects private or public
    3) Raise expectations (no social promotions, you don't master material you don't move on)
    4) Academic emphasis over other extra curricular activities.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  2. Donaldo in ATL

    Never happen, no way. Too many opps for the slugs of the world, lawyers.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  3. Kenneth Krieger

    Everyone has their own idea. Looking at education from the top down this or that can be debated. From the bottom up we are spending $250,000 per class room. Hire 2 more teachers for a total of 3 .Pay them $50,000 a year each to teach from their living rooms. Please remember home school kids generally do better, so we cut class size and save $100,000 per classroom per year and get a better product. Ken Krieger Cape Coral, Florida

    January 27, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  4. Bradley, Portland, OR

    Teachers are better qualified to judge parenting than parents are to judge teaching.

    The only question is, what happens to parents who fail?

    Mandatory remedial parenting classes?

    January 27, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  5. Cliff Glass - East Rockaway, NY

    Jack,

    Grades are only relevant if based upon actual parental interaction with the teacher and the school district , not if used by the school to deflect blame away from either the teachers or the school districts own shortcomings.
    It also might be intersting to know Rep. Stargels background, as well as the level of backing she current enjoys from the teachers uniion in Florida.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  6. Jill

    Absolutely. There is always a missing component in the education debate and that is parental involvement. There is a reason China is ranking #1. Education is valued and expected. Teachers are held in the highest regard. Discipline and respect for elders are the norm. I'm not saying our American society needs to mirror China's, but we need to get back to a place where it's not schools vs. parents.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  7. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Someone need to give a grade to the idiots that came up with this idea. Most teachers, if they're worth a crap don't have time to spend trying to figure out what grade to give parents that may be working two jobs in order to make ends meet or just to pay the rent.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  8. David

    I am a teacher and I love the idea, but am curious what happens if the parent consistently fails. I could talk for hours about this subject alone, but instead will just use a recent anecdote instead. After one of my students missed two days of school, her first order of business was to come into the school and pick a fight with another student. I immediately called her mother, who per usual did not respond to me. Instead, she sent her daughter a text message and told her to tell me to "Stop calling her because she just didn't feel like dealing with it." Parents like this one literally pick and choose when they send their kid to school, help with their education and when to be disciplinarians. They expect us to not only do our jobs, but there's as well. The sad part is that parents like this one, at least at the school that I work, are the rule, rather than the exception.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  9. Travis

    We absolutely need more of this in our country. There are too many Americans out there that do not value intelligence whatsoever and it is leading to the corrosion of our country. Too many people blame the government for our problems, when really our future will be saved by the joint efforts parents and teachers working together to ensure that future generations are moving past the rest of the world academically.

    P.S. Calling educated people 'elistist' is adding to the problem. I know I want my children to be 'elite' and that's not a bad thing.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  10. Dick B

    For what purpose? Let us assume the law passes and a teacher grades a parent unsatisfactory – then what? The only way this silly system is of any benefit are for those parents willing to make radical changes based on their child's report card. But hey guess what, poor grades on that report card should do the same thing!

    January 27, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  11. daleok

    It is sad that it has to come to the point where teacher's feel the need to grade parents in order for them to meet their responsibilities. And if the parents do not receive a passing grade, then what?

    January 27, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  12. Kristi

    How about parent's grade teachers. Does the teacher start class on time? Does the teacher have excessive absences and inservices? Adequate communication? Are the handouts and memos free from typographical and grammatical errors? Do they make sense? Is the teacher available? Does the teacher have an attitude problem? I could go on and on....

    January 27, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  13. Jacob Smith

    Placing more work on an already exhausted and underappreciated educational system without additional support is not the right way to address this issue. All that will resort is more work for teachers who are already stretched to the limit.

    Americans in general need to stop preaching that "We're #1" and actually start contributing to making that a reality, both financially and through their own actions.

    We may talk the talk, but China walks to walk.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  14. Damon Lamb

    Student achievement sits atop a three legged stool. The legs of the stool are represented by competent teachers, motivated students and involved parents. The stool is only as strong as the weakest leg. Since NCLB, our focus has been primarily on only one leg of this stool. It is high time we focus some attention on parental involvement and student effort.

    Marshalltown, Iowa

    January 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  15. Larry

    Education is really a multi-faceted approach that involves standards, teachers, parents, students, local-state-federal govt, and even television programming.

    To believe that each doesn't play a role in the education of children shows they really don't understand the situation. Of course, some of them are more important than others, but yet each plays a role.

    After the student and the teacher, the next most important influence are the parent(s). These 3 grading criteria are a great first step, not too intrusive, but begins the accountability and responsibility process. This can only help parents to become more involved in a positive way!

    Is this perfect, no! But if we don't start somewhere then when will ever begin to hold them accountable? Without required accountability for our education system, including the parents; then the product produced by it will not improve!

    January 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  16. Chris

    As someone who spent almost 2years in China teaching at Chinese schools/universities.

    When you have kids as early as primary school commit suicide by jumping off the rooftop of the school because they did poorly on a standardized test. That is a problem.

    When you have middle school / junior high and high school children with ulcers and other stress related medical disorders due to the amount of pressure to succeed in school and advance, that study from before the sun rises until 10pm or later M-F, before sunrise on Saturday until afternoon at least, and then attend private classes and tutoring if their parents can afford it. The physical and mental impacts on the kids is apparent.

    We need education reform in this country. Parents are the best teacher a child can have especially in the early years, so grading them and communication to the parents is a good idea.

    Other things that need to happen:

    No child left behind needs to be scrapped, and with it teaching to the test each year.

    Some children will be left behind, those with documented mental retardation will never graduate HS and do algebra. Kids mature at different rates mentally as well as physically.

    The 'smart' kids should be able to progress at the pace that keeps them from being 'bored', and the kids who are not ready for something should be allowed to progress at their own pace. With the understanding they might not be on track to go to medical school down the road without some serious work on their part to either catch up if that is their dream, or to go to community college etc after they have matured mentally.

    There is no easy answer but working kids to the point or past the point of death is not the answer either.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  17. Dee

    I am both a teacher and a parent. I can see both sides. Yes. I would like to grade my parents. Why?I have students that come to school in shorts on a 40 degree day. They have no lunch money, dirty, holes in their shoes and no supplies....and that's all they think about. Not what 2 plus 2 is. My students are 6 and 7 years old. I don't blame them....but it is my job to educate them. Not feed them, clothe them or even be a nurse to them. It is the parents job to make sure they come ready to learn. Some of my parents are failing...However, I need their support. I do not need them angry with me!
    Yes. Grade me. I am a parent. I have 2 children. The economy stinks and I haven't had a raise in 3 years. However, I am doing the best I can to provide for my children. They are clean and fed each day, they have lunch and their homework is done. I sit down each night with both of my kids. Why? I am their first teacher and it is my responsibility as their parent. So, bring it on! I would get all A's!!!!!

    January 27, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  18. Miguel Lozano

    I am actually a math teacher in inner city Phoenix and I am certain that many parents play no role in their childrens education, and while I think that is not a good thing, we still have to consider that a lot of times the students with the poorest grades are in the poorest neighborhoods and many of these parents are working multiple jobs just to put food on the table so that is about as much apart of their childrens lives they can afford to be or else the child may not eat which I believe would be far worse.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  19. Joe

    Fair enough. While we're at it, why not allow parents and students to grade teachers?

    January 27, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  20. marvin in Polo, MO

    Jack, No that would be a waste of time and could lead to violent confrontations between Little Johnny's 300lb drunken mother and the teacher. The teachers already know which students get the parental support they need to succeed at school.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  21. Paul

    Yes, yes, yes! I child's success or failure is a direct result of how engaged or not the parent(s) are.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  22. Jennifer

    Jack,

    Coming from a family of teachers in Florida, I applaud this recommendation. There are only so many things teachers can do without the parent's support. These day's teacher's are therapists, referees, nurses, role models, but the one thing they can't be...parents.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  23. Ed in St Louis

    The grading of parents is a great idea. I am retired and working a second career in a public school working with kids in math and computers. I can tell immediately which kids have supportive and/or rigorus parents who expect the kids to do their homework, pay attention and act responsibly in school with a respect of adult leaders.
    I can also tell which parents could care less and do not require the kids to work and expend the effort. In fact everything to them is the teachers fault and responsibility. They expect their inattentive , disrespectful and non performing child to be spoon fed an education. It doesn't work that way. Just ask the Chinese. The Tiger mom didn't just come out of nowhere. America, WAKE UP. I propose that along with the grade if a parent fails then their school taxes should be additionally assesed to cover the cost of covering for their child's frivolity. I pay school taxes and in some cases those problem kids are wasting the money I pay in taxes to "educate" them. Its not fair to the majority of kids and parents who are trying their best. They are suffering as teachers attempt to coax the slackers to work.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  24. Paulette Lindgren

    Parents profess to understand what their children need to learn. Teachers profess to understand what they need to effectively teach. Unfortunately, few parents understand fully that the BEST help for their children is a cooperative effort between parent and teacher. There should be no need to "grade" parents, as they should already know the importance of their support for learning. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Rather than grading parents, I believe teachers should offer ideas that will help a particular child or congrats on a job well done.

    – Paulette of Cortland, Illinois

    January 27, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  25. Joe Ft Walton Bch Fl

    That would be great, but than no children will be in school. Some of the parents send their children to school just to get them out of the house, and not for learning anything.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  26. Meagan

    Absolutely not! These schools can barely teach our children to read, write, and do arithmetic. Who are they to "grade" a parent? How would this grade actually improve parent/teacher relationships? We have a failing and broken system and our solutions never address the actual problems. Stupidity like this exactly why we chose to home school our children. They're several grade levels above their public school peers because we cut out the crap and focus on what matters. -Meagan Augusta GA

    January 27, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  27. waukone

    I think everyone should be graded – kids, teachers, parents, administration. Maybe they would have to really start talking to each other and agree upon what they will be graded on.

    Somebody needs to name the problems of kids not getting to sleep – yes there are issues of homelessness etc. But most of the time it is parents not telling their kids to turn off the TV, games and go to bed. If there is other problems they need to get help.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  28. John

    There are plenty of places in our society where personal responsibility has been pushed off on to others, as its "too hard" or "we don't have time". Parent's responsibility for making sure their kids do what's expected in school is a large one. Too easy to say my kid is failing and it's the teacher's fault. Much harder to make sure little Johnny is doing what it takes. My wife and I made sure our kids did what it takes, and both of us had full time careers as they grew. Both are now responsible adults, both have undergraduate degrees and one has a Ph.D. Blaming the education system and teachers in general only illustrates part of the equation in achieving academic success. The whole picture needs to be examined in order to bring about meaningful change.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  29. stephen

    Great idea! However, what activity would you take away from us to accomplish our jobs, time with students, providing extra help, lesson planning, calling parents, grading, meetings, chaperoning? Or is this just going to be piled on with no additional compensation in the foreseeable future?

    Stephen B.
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Math Teacher

    January 27, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  30. Laura

    Wonderful idea! Wonderful idea! Wonderful idea! The parents should have responsibility at home, too.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  31. Kathleen Parker , South Carolina

    As a teacher of 37 years, I can tell you that parents are an integral part of any successful child's education. Teachers should be held accountable for what goes on in the classroom, but parents and students have to be willing and able to receive what even the best teachers are trying to give. I just retired a few years ago and children have changed very little, but parents have changed a lot. Chinese children are no smarter than American children; their parents are just more involved and have higher expectations.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  32. Phil

    I don't know if grading is needed but parents should be more responsible for what the teachers are being asked to grade. Children must be ready to learn when they go to school. That means be on time, have your homework completed and be involved in the success of your child. Too many parents fail to do their part and blame all of society's problems on the teachers.

    January 27, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  33. Pete Jimenez

    I am a teacher and whether or not I grade a parent is not going to help the child learn more. All it will accomplish is a hostile environment between the parent and the teacher. If you want real education reform, put those that know about education in-charge of reforming education instead of an elected official that has no clue how to run a classroom let alone an entire education system. No other public service job has so many hands that have nothing to do with the career field putting in their two cents as to best run the system. Criminal Justice is not at 100% with behavior, arrest, or charges. See recent exonerations from all 50 states, yet no one is calling for police reform, or attorney ethical changes. The military is not perfect either, yet no one is looking to reform them either. So why pick on education? I have done both jobs in the past as well (USAF, Federal Officer). The problem with education is those that feel they know how to run it. The experts in education, the individuals that create the programs that work, former teachers, principals, individuals that work with students need to be running the program just like the chief of police runs his unit, and the general runs his troops. Why does education get run by those not educated in education? We do not need more respect, we need to be allowed to do our job!

    January 27, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  34. wow47

    It is time to hold parents accountable and quit blaming the teachers for unruly, disruptive students....if parents were parents instead of wanting to be "friends" with their little children schools and society would be alot better off....

    January 27, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  35. bada

    Parents are crucial, but teachers have no consistent or valid basis for grading them. In my case, homework and schoolwork problems for my child relate to unevenness caused by the back and forth that he experiences every other day between myself and my wife (we're separated). How is a teacher to have a clue what's going on?

    January 27, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  36. Albert Krasnik

    Great Idea!!!!

    January 27, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  37. Phil

    I don't know if grading is needed but parents should be more responsible for what the teachers are being asked to grade. Children must be ready to learn when they go to school. That means students should be on time, have their homework completed and parents need to be involved in the success of their children. Too many parents fail to do their part and blame all of society's problems on the teachers.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  38. Elgin

    Absolutely! Building the foundation of forming good study habits is something only parents can do. If this is not done, the student will most likely struggle all the way through high school. Parent involvement in a kid's/student's life is crucial, and if not addressed we will only fall farther behind.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  39. rumbean

    I wouldn't mind being graded by my child's teacher as long as I can grade the teacher.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  40. Cary in Colorado Springs

    Jack, I would love to be able to say that grading parents would make a difference, but we all know it won't. And why? Because too many parents think their little angels are perfect! It's all the other kids, or at least the teachers, who have the problems. We're too afraid to upset little Johnny; we might hurt his little psyche. For crying out loud, teachers can't even grade in red ink anymore, because of the negativity it carries!! No one is willing to push their kids when it comes to education. But SPORTS?! Well, now, that's another matter! The citizens of this country truly have their priorities out of whack. And it's gonna be the ruin of us all!!

    January 27, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  41. Camelia

    Teachers barely work diligently these days, and now they get to complain on parents too! If only we had competent teachers who were dedicated and on par with teachers in India or China, our kids would do quite well. Scrutinizing parents takes away what little focus teachers have!

    January 27, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  42. Teri

    The headline is misleading. This is evaluating how ready a child is for education and I agree with it. I just received a notice from my daughter's school. She's already been tardy 13 times this year. I drive her and we simply haven't been getting up in time. She is in fourth grade, an excellent student otherwise, but this notice made me reflect on what my disregard for timeliness was teaching her. It was a wake up call that I needed. We now get up 15 minutes earlier and so far, so good.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  43. Jim in Idaho

    You know it just makes you wonder how long American parents are willing to keep their heads buried in the sand. Parents spend all their time trying to be their children's friends and buying them cool things to keep up with the Jones's kid. What they don"t do--and our international scholastic rankings support this-is teach their kids how to succeed, and then enforce them doing it. Parent are the first to say that teachers are doing a poor job....teachers who typically don't get paid as much as the people who collect our trash; and yet when it gets suggested that parents (and politicians) are not doing THEIR job, well that's when the lawyers come out swinging (and charging those big fees).

    As long as parents continue to ignore their responsibilities towards the education of their children.....and I don't mean just dress them and pack them off to school (babysitting) every day......then more and more countries are going to kick our collective butts academically, and more importantly economically. We spoil our children by providing them just about every distraction to education there is.....be it their cool clothes, be it their cellphones/computers. be it their gameboys/ WIIs. None of that crap will ever mean anything to someone who cannot land a job because they can't do simple math or read and write well.

    Poor parents......they're so picked on. It's obviously all the teacher's fault that little Johnny has better things to do every day than learn.

    Right.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  44. Stunga

    when do we get to grade teachers?

    January 27, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  45. jas tiger

    The baby booner genration began the troubling and negative practice of leaving education of their children to the school(s).
    1/2 of a child's education SHOULD come from home.
    Anybody who doesn't understand this is stupid.
    NO amount of education reform can be arrived at until our society places the appropriate burdan back on babymamas and babydaddies...you just can't pop 'em out and say to the taxpayer, "I had 'em, now you educate 'em!"

    January 27, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  46. Mark in Oklahoma City

    Oh, yeah....I can just see that happening. The very fact that some so-called intelligent person would even ASK that question shows how little those outside education know about what goes on is our schools. Schools cannot be "fixed" until society fixes its social ills. End of story.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  47. Nino

    Definitly. I work in an Elementary School and I see first hand the difference that parental involvement can make.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  48. Pat C

    Good heavens no....that parents would have to be responsible for their children's behavior...to actually parent the child, not warehouse,delagate care, and when the child acts out...blame the teacher for not teaching an inattentive,rude, and entitled stinker....it is the fault of everyone else than the parent. We just had them.....they dont want to be involved.....Here school, get your tax dollars, babysit my child, and dont you dare say anything....you are getting my tax $$$...oh wait, I dont work, well my neighbors tax dollars.......

    January 27, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  49. Annie, Atlanta

    Only when parents get the same option in return, without getting their kids blacklisted. It works both ways.

    On second thought, this sounds more like an excuse that could be used by schools as a cover for incompetent staff, so no.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  50. Thomas Whalen

    Thank You . . .Thank You . . . Thank You . . Same grade as the students !

    January 27, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  51. John

    Jack,

    My teacher is a high school math teacher in a low income area. Her attendance and truancy rate on any given day is 50%. That means that only half her class shows up to class each day. In fact, some students don't show up until the week of finals. So when these students fail the class for lack of attendance, whose fault is that?

    My wife can't teach what does not attend class. YES, parents are not held responsible. Students learn discipline and work ethic at home. In my view the parents and students aren't held accountable at all, especially since No Child Left Behind means the kid just keeps getting passed through the ranks.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  52. Mary

    I'm a middle school teacher, and think this is a novel idea. But it won't change anything.

    At the present time, I work in a school where most parents are college-educated and employed in upper middle-class jobs. Most of my students are hard workers who score high on state tests and eventually get into fabulous colleges and later become employed in upper middle-class jobs.

    Even in this pretty-darned-good environment, some of my students are not hard workers, do not come to school prepared, do not do their homework, and do not study for tests. And somehow, their inability to learn (while making absolutely no effort to learn) is MY FAULT.

    Public schools are a mirror-perfect reflection of American culture, as are American children. Teachers are made to attempt to teach in a culture where disruptive, rude, and disrespectful children ruin the learning environment for the children who want to learn.

    If you really want to change American schools, create alternative schools for those children who come unprepared to learn, and especially for those who disrupt the learning of others. If parents knew that there was a possible negative outcome (being removed from the more desirable "normal school" and being sent to the less desirable "disruptors' school"), they'd rapidly learn to make their children behave. As it stands, the most likely outcome for a disruptive student is to be tagged with a "diagnosis" like oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and then be able to take more money from the local school system by demanding special treatment and extra services under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

    January 27, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  53. jas tiger

    The baby booner generation began the troubling and negative practice of leaving education of their children to the school(s).
    1/2 of a child's education SHOULD come from home.
    Anybody who doesn't understand this is stupid.
    NO amount of education reform can be arrived at until our society places the appropriate burden back on babymamas and babydaddies...
    you just can't pop 'em out and say to the taxpayer, "I had 'em, now you educate 'em!"

    james tiger
    lake County, IL

    January 27, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  54. Ken Speegle

    There's no way this is a good proposal. This strikes me as yet another way to absolve teachers of responsibility for not doing their jobs. Yes, parents have a critical role to play.

    Teachers have a vested interest in blaming parents for student failure. If the parents are blamed, the teachers get a pass on their role in this situation.

    And they continue to collect salaries for - supposedly - teaching kids.

    Not a bad deal.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  55. J

    Sounds like an excellent idea – they're not judging specific parenting skills, techniques, methods, etc – they're judging whether parents are enabling their kids to participate fully in their education. Too many kids are not able to do this, and I think it's an excellent way to encourage families to focus on the importance of education. I'm in Washington, DC.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  56. Derek

    Next thing you know they will want that camera in our home too......

    January 27, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  57. tim iowa

    Teachers grade parents? I think we should grade teachers. Having gone through the public education system I have had good teachers and some bad . It isn't always the parents fault.Yes I think we could do more at home. But this crazy.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  58. Brian

    Jack my wife and mother are both teachers and this is a great idea! although it should continue through high school. To many parents out there are always blaming the teachers...Why are they payed so much? they say! Politicians love to say that "We must hold the teachers accountable," but its the support at home that will determine the success of students. Im tired of hearing people ask why our students are doing so badly when I watch my wife with her Bio/Chem degree and masters of education spend 12 hours a day teaching and grading while the parents at home don't care and would rather watch American Idol.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  59. Steph

    Heck yes - parents should be graded. Teachers can NOT get students to progress as rapidly as they are supposed to without an involved parent. Children spend more time with their parent(s) than any other adult. Their influence is insurmountable. Parents that do not support their child's education are only hindering the teacher's efforts. Teachers are getting blamed for students not making a year's growth in their classroom, but if a parent is doing nothing to help their own child and is in fact the cause of the child not being able to pay attention, stay awake, not being at school to learn, etc. etc., then that fact should be reflected on the report card. Evidence should be required - like unreturned phone calls, emails, notes home not signed and returned, a child with smelly, dirty clothes every day, a child that constantly misbehaves and the parent does nothing to help change their behavior, etc. etc. could be used as proof.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  60. Barb in tx

    As a parent who made sure that all three items listed were accomplished for all three of my kids, and now have one who has become a teacher, YES, grade them. My daughter calls parents all the time. She lets them know how their children are preforming.. very few ever respond or come in to talk to her. @ the semester class change one of her students who recently got out of a gang, was shifted to one of her classes that has some "distracting" students in it. She went to all the admin. people & got the student changed to a class that would be better for them. Parents were nowhere around. She knew someone had to step up. She is just one of many teachers that act as surrogate parents to many students. But you can be sure that if lit' Johnny get bumped from the team Dad will be there screaming WHY??

    January 27, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  61. John from Alabama

    Jack: Teacher's expect the students to be at school on time, homework done, and as clean as possible. Anything the parents do before their child reaches school age is greatly appreciated. Like reading to your child each day, good learning experiences, such as, trips to the zoo, watch educational programs in the mornings instead of cartoons, and plenty of family outings, if possible. Communicating with your child about different things that happen during the day is key in developing a child.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  62. Robert Julian

    My wife was a teacher for 40 years. The students that did best were those whose parents were interested and on top of what was happening in school. Why not try it? Nothing else has worked

    January 27, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  63. Kimberly

    That is great...until you give an unstable parent an unsatisfactory grade and they meet you in the parking lot of school one day and shoot you in the head. It's not a teacher's responsibility to "grade" parents.
    Secondly, as a parent it should be within my rights to get my child to school late on occasion. Things happen...cars don't start, other children in the family get sick. Personally, I think homework is a waste of time. This coming from a former Florida teacher.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  64. courtney

    I absolutely support this! My son's 2nd grade teacher comments often on how little parental involvement his classmates have. Kids need to be taught study habits at home early if they are going succeed. Most teacher's I have met are more than happy to assist parents with the kids' studies at home.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  65. AJ in Ames

    Not only should teachers grade parents, they should be reported in the local newspaper.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  66. Jill

    I’m a teacher in a NJ public school and I have mixed views. In theory it sounds great. It's very frustrating when you get little to no cooperation at home. Your hands are really tied. However, I fear it begins to put everyone on defensive. And more anger and animosity is not what we need right now. I envision myself keeping logs on parent’s behaviors and our emails and phone conversations rather than applying that time to the success of my students. It is hard to understand the hectic, multi tasking world I am in all day. Honestly and sadly, this is just one more task I have little to no time for. However; it does not take a genius to see where success comes from. In my advanced classes my room is packed with parent’s (Mom’s & Dad’s) on back to school but my general classes normally have a few Moms. Maybe instead of offering teachers merit pay we should pay parents for every A.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  67. Sarahlee

    It would be great data to show the people who are making the rules just how essential a parent's involvement is to a child's education. Also, this evidence can be used in establishing teacher and school reform. If anyone should take the ball with this experiment it would be Florida with one of their counties going through a project with the Bill Gates Foundation securing 100 million to evaluate teacher's effectiveness on students. Let's test this parent method out with private funding before asking tax dollars to be spent on a reform that is only going to waste the money of a parent who is doing their job as a parent. If anything parenting and responsibility should become required classes to educate parents on how to educate their offspring before applying for public assistance. Look to the cultures who dominate us with their intelligence and innovate their methods, merge them.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  68. mike egan

    Why stop at third grade? I was at a meeting just last night where parents were berating teachers because they were not challenging their so called gifted students. These parents do not challenge their kids at home,they want it all done at school. My wife teaches, and I never get to see her. Challenge your own kids,not the teachers.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  69. Ricardo

    Well I think it's a good idea parents are a major factor in a child's life. Everyone screams about how teachers are horrible but the fact is that most teachers do pretty good for the resources they are given.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  70. Michele

    What if the parents fail? Do teachers have to remediate them, too?? Where will this funding come from????

    January 27, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  71. Kelsey, Colorado Springs, CO

    No. Not unless the parents finally get to grade the teachers. With three children that matriculated from K through 12, across four states, 12 schools (yes military moves) and countless numbers of teachers I suspect that maybe a third would have received a C or better from me as the parent. None of my sons teachers at all. Most were totally unwilling to work with me as the parent to get my children to do their homework let alone turn it in. It seemed if they up fed, clean and willing to sit in their seat quietly then the teacher could care less as to their achievement class-wise. The ones that were engaged and working with the parents (not just me) were truly outstanding..... A+ teachers. The differences are notable. The two oldest zipped through college with multiple degrees and grad school. My son has struggled because he was never taught how to learn and never had to perform. He'll make it but not because of any of his teachers.

    So teachers can grade parents when the parents get to grade the teachers.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  72. Mike from Dallas

    Jack I swear the more of these unproductive ideas I hear from Congressmen the more I'm convinced they are on crack! Like the parent is going to care if they are demeaned by being "graded" for what they perceive as a teacher's job? Maybe they will become outraged and bring a gun to a teacher parent conference. It would make more sense to tie incentive bonus compensation for teachers to test scores and achievement. Teachers are underpaid, and under appreciated period. Parents would be more likely to get on board with higher education and achievement if they could proudly display "My child is a TOP ACHIEVER" on the bumper of their car.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  73. Clar Cline

    As a retired teacher, I would have liked this. If a student is struggling and his homework is never done, parents do not come to school for conferences, the student is often late, has not eaten breakfast, does not get needed rest-yes-these things have a great deal to do with a child's learning. Parents need to be made aware that what they do matters, it matters a lot. Yes, we should grade them.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  74. Aaron

    Nothing but a total waste of time. The grades would hold no weight whatsoever. Won't serve any useful purpose, period.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  75. WAR

    Sounds like a good idea. Most of the parents do the work anyway.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  76. Twangmeister

    After 25 years as a public high school teacher, I have seen a wide range of students succeed or fail for a variety of reasons, including parental involvement. However, each student comes with a unique history, and many have defied the odds and/or stereotypes. I would be hesitant to "grade" a parent, although there clearly have been some incompetent, clueless, and downright harmful ones over the years. In my experience, few students excel or succeed without support from home, or at least the active involvement of an adult or mentor outside of class. Still, there remains a strong correlation between academic achievement and the socioeconomic level of students and their families. Regardless of how many "accountability" factors legislators introduce into the mix, students and their families are not likely to become more fully engaged until societal factors such as poverty, employment, health care, etc. are addressed in a meaningful way. The expectations and standards set by parents in the home are still vital factors in student success and it takes an exceptional individual to succeed in school if he or she does not have that support at home. Grading parents is likely to put more on the defensive and even less likely to participate. The question remains: how do we educate the parents?

    January 27, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  77. Michael Armstrong Sr. Tx.

    I would send the teacher a report card right back with a sweet little note .So the answer would be hell no .

    January 27, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  78. Parent

    What about parents grading teachers? I'm dealing with a teacher now that tests the kids BEFORE she completes teaching them. That's right – the test first. The system protects bad teachers.

    I'm not saying parents don't have a responsibility here but so do teachers. Parents do need to step up. But, I've offered to help in the class – teacher doesn't respond. Offered to recuit other volunteers for the class – teacher doesnt' respond. Yet, when parents ask her something she says she doesn't have time. Uh, maybe those parent volunteers would help.

    I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for teachers but am tired of the bad ones being protected. If bad teachers exhibited that behavior in the corporate world, they would be fired (or millionaires). It's a two way street.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  79. Thomas

    Jack,
    You bet they should. I was not a great student but my mom and dad were all over me and it was the key to my success. As a parent of a public school child. I can see the children whose parents are slack. I think we ask to much from the teachers....education begins and ends at home and should be only augmented by the education community.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  80. Jim

    Sure, as long as parents get to grade the teacher.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  81. stormsun

    I give the lawmaker, Ms. Stargel, an "unsatisfactory" grade. Apparently whe has forgotten why she is in the position she holds, and for whom she works.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  82. GLADYS MORALES

    I am a resident of Florida and I think that teachers grading parents is an excellent idea but that should be a two way street, we should also be able to grade teachers. I think that after a few grading periods, especially if this brilliant idea expands beyond the proposed third grade when teachers, parents and students alike get lazy then after a few grading periods both sides will decide that its too embarassing and call it quits.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  83. Ben from Charleston, SC

    Perhaps I'm speaking from a biased position, but I absolutely support this. My parents were heavily involved when it came to my schoolwork. The result? I am currently working towards a Masters Degree in Sociology, and I have no intentions of stopping there. This idea provides a third-party check and balance system in a child's development. The only logical source of opposition to this idea comes from the people that are afraid of what that parent report card might say.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  84. Ron Young

    Jack, I think someone wrote the wrong question.....flip it and it would be something we should do...ie, let the parents grade the teachers!! All they do is just keep passing the buck!!

    January 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  85. A

    As a teacher this sounds like a good idea. However, I worry about teachers when it comes time to writing these reports. They may not have the time to adequately document which students parents are not following through. This may cause confusion for them when they are giving grades which results in false representation of parents. I would love to be able to get through to parents more but I am not sure this is the best way. Parents need to understand that teachers are not miracle workers and that they need to be just a part of their child's life just as we are everyday. I understand that parents work and they have other children to cater to. But they also need to understand that in order for their child to be successful they also need to do their part. The people that negate this I feel are the people who don't teach and can't see what teachers see everyday. I advise them to find a teacher and ask what happens everyday with parents. It can be very frustrating when parents are not involved. So as for this grading system, I would say try it out but be very careful about how you advise your teachers to carry through with it. Think of the 'what could possibly go wrong" and "what positive events could come out of this".

    January 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  86. claire

    No, No, No, Jack. It's about time that parents graded the teachers. As a parent who has always been very involved with her kids, I can say from experience that parents like me should have a say about the teachers that influence their kids. How would you feel if a teacher rapped her kid's knuckles in class for no good reason? Perhaps it's time to let teachers know that whatever is going on in their private lives is no reason to take it out on a child.... Noone listened to me. The teacher seems to be king/queen.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  87. Mimie

    I do not know whether teachers should grade parents, however something needs to be done to enhance parent's responsibility. It is evident that students with responsible parents do much better in school. Some students desperately need the practice afforded by homework, and only parents can ensure its implementation. The simple knowledge that their parents are involved increases a student's motivation and ultimate achievement.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  88. Chris in WI

    We live in 2011 and still teach kids the way we did last century. The problem is we are not embracing technology. We have proven that technology makes manufacturing more efficient (to the detriment of our working class) so why not do this in the school too. The teacher should be monitoring their computer in real time watching which students (each with a dumb terminal) seem to be failing to grasp the lesson. How can you see which kids eyes are glazing over with your back to them at the chalk board? This will honestly keep any child from being left behind. Oh and get rid of summer vacation and increase teacher pay while you are fixing things!

    January 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  89. Chris Moore

    I would like to point out one IMPORTANT fact about this article. It's very difficult to compare the test scores of students here in the United States to students in other countries because of one reason....we believe in educating EVERYONE. Regardless of race, gender, disability, each child in the US has the right to an education. How many of those countries we are constantly being compared to educate all of their children, even the ones who may (gasp!) bring down their coveted test scores?
    A right to a free, appropriate public education is one of the main reasons I am still proud to be an American.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  90. Rony

    I think it's preposterous. Yes, parents should be involved in their children education; but grading them??? C'mom.

    We are looking for excuses for our failing school system. What we should do is to raise the standards to the the "good old days" level, end social promotion and forget about principals, School boards and politicians who do not want to take the blame for lowering the percentage of high school graduates.

    We would be better with quality than quantity.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  91. Scott

    The American public education system is at the root of this problem. The educational climate in most inner-city schools makes it evident why we continue to fall behind other nations in terms of our students' achievement. Reform the schools, don't grade the parents.

    Scott
    Duluth, Minnesota

    January 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  92. Paul Anderson

    I think parents do need to be held accountable. This should be totally confidential though. On the other hand, we need to hold bad teachers more accountable and reward good teachers with pay raises. Unfortunately, the teachers unions fight teacher evaluations every step of the way.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  93. jledbetternv

    If nothing happens to me when I get a grade of "unsatisfactory" or "needs improvement," then the system is useless. I give this proposal an "F."

    January 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  94. Fresno Teacher

    As a teacher I agree 100%. Parent are the first ones to make an impact in their child life. Parent need to be graded on parenting skills. As a teacher our biggest resource is the parents. When parents aren't helpful their child has no accountability. At times parents are helpful and at times parents are the main problem. Parents need to do their job right first so that we can do ours much better. Some of my students come from really crazy situations and we are responsible for teaching them many things. Due to these situations it is very very difficult to do...

    January 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  95. Robert

    When I was teaching in an inner-city NYC high school, I had several "community representatives" come to my room one Open School Night and complain to me that they had "reports" that I wasn't passing enough students. Forget that neither of the 2 had any students in my classes. When I pointed out to them that failing students either did not come to class, or did no work if they did show up, they became abusive to me. I pointed out a sign I had posted: "Teachers don't give grades, srtudents earn them". These parent spokesmen didn't seem to get the message, however. If parents can abuse teachers in this way, and have no knowledge of what goes on in a classroom, teachers should be able to address this on a regular basis.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  96. Karen

    It's sad US kids are so far behind but, what can you do when China has been selling Lead based toys and other items to us for years and years. And we all know Lead contributes to learning disabilities. Was this done purposely?

    January 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  97. Steve

    I work for a school district and I can say with absolute certainty, that most teachers are not any position to be judging any kids parents, period.

    At best the only thing this will accomplish is to further alienate parents.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  98. Dave

    Jack:
    You have it wrong. I have 12 and 15 year old daughters in Michigan's public schools. The teachers seldom teach, as parents if we did not teach their would be no learning at all. Teachers are failing us terribly and soon this archaic method of over taxing property owners for a broken system will have to stop. One educator on the internet can teach thousands for only pennies per pupil. America please wake up. Kids A+ Teachers F
    Dave

    January 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  99. Megan

    I am a teaching in a low-income, high minority area of NYC. Children regularly come to school poorly dressed, unprepared, hungry and tired. Homework is very rarely done and parent involvement in minimal. Phone calls and notes home mean nothing. Parents hold no accountability in the education of a their child/children; yet accountability is a word that teachers hear all day. Why is it that parents can not be graded? Maybe receiving a failing grade would motivate parents to care about education. Education is a partnership between school, parents and teachers. The relationship fails when parents do not hold up their end of the bargain. This idea proposed in Florida is an excellent one and I hope all states follow suit.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  100. Jenn

    Does anyone really believe that the threat of seeing a C on a piece of paper will FINALLY get a parent to feed their kid at night?? How do we fail to see that the failure of the education system in the United States is only the bleeding, pulsing symptom of the overwhelming social, economic and even ethical woes of this country? And leave it the lawmakers to think that teachers don't have enough papers to push; once again, the burden falls on the teachers ...

    January 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  101. Larry

    I have taught third grade for 28 years. During that time, most of my parents were exceptional, showing their love by helping their child succeed in school.

    However, I have also had parents who neglect their responsibility. The child arrives hungry, sleepy and obviously not ready to learn.

    I've also had parents who do all of their child's work while verbally abusing the teacher for any perceived slight, thus denying an educational experience for their child while modeling a lack of respect.

    It's time we stop faulting teachers for every educational problem, and realize that parents, and society, also must share blame.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  102. Prince

    The American student is far behind the Chineses, Singaporean, Britain's etc, the problem is the quality of both teaching and parenting. No video games and gadgets until kids show improvement in school! period.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  103. Zlie from Tucson

    A fantastic idea –I'm all for it. As a working / traveling mom, I struggle to complete all three of these activities, but knowing I will be graded would make me even more diligent. Let;s be fair, however: parallel and simultanous support mechanisms will be paramount for families with fewer (time/knowledge) resources: additional free study halls with qualified tutors, paid breakfasts for those with no food at home and second language / or creative (audio) communication options for parents less able to follow school correspondance.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  104. Ben from Charleston, SC

    Perhaps I'm speaking from an ivory tower, but I absolutely support this. My parents were heavily involved when it came to my schoolwork. The result? I am currently working towards a Masters Degree in Sociology, and I have no intentions of stopping there. This idea provides a third-party check and balance system in a child's development. The only logical source of opposition to this idea comes from the people that are afraid of what that parent report card might say.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  105. Jim

    I have been married 26 years and our kids did fine in school. I firmly believe devorce and broken homes breed nothing but failure for the children, but we are afraid of the word political correctness. lets have a survey on children with Dad & Mom staying together and single parent familys and see who's children score the best.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  106. Bob Campbell

    How about parents grading teachers. As a retired teacher I would have been delighted to have parents grade me. There are a lot of great teachers out there for whom the grading would be acceptable and motivating. But unfortunately the unions would decry. They play a great part in the failure of our education system by supporting substandard teachers. Our education system is in the same mess as our financial system and it too is soon going crash. And quite frankly it's not money, there are many things to blame but the bottom line is the teacher in the classroom.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  107. L8ydrgn

    I think it's a great idea, as parents are crucial to a child's education and development.

    On the same note, I think parents should get to grade the teachers, as well.

    For my own child I know there have been way too many times my child complains that the teacher would just set them to work on worksheets and the teacher just retires to the desk or my personal favorite...have the kids work their butts off on reports for over a month and then sit and grade papers at the desk while the kids give their presentations.

    A child is raised by a community, let's remember that.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  108. Lisa IL

    That would be fine if I can grade the teacher on how well they are teaching my children. It goes both ways.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  109. Ralph

    It is unfortunate to label this as "grading the parents". Normally, very few teachers and parents have active contact sufficient to do this. Yes, they could be graded on the level of parental influence on their child in being properly prepared for school, rested, fed, and homework done. Now, how would this "grading" be used to influence student achievement?

    January 27, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  110. Elizabeth

    Yes! This sounds like an excellent idea. A child's education depends equally on parental involvement and teaching, and too often poor education is blamed only on the teachers. We need a greater emphasis on parental input and reprimand parents when they cannot provide the basics for their children. What parents would be "graded on" isn't rocket science – get your children to school and make sure they are fulfilling their responsibilities.
    Of course teachers can judge parents just the way parents judge teachers. And if parents can't provide the basics for a good education, then they should be judged harshly.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  111. marilyn

    yes this is good.... let's all get graded... let's grade the princpal, the teachers, the school conditions, the after school programs... this will give the schools more money to teache the student...this is just a blame game that will never work.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  112. Eddie

    I think it is definitely something worth considering. Parents today seem to always want our schools and teachers to be baby sitters. They want to be their kids "friends" and not their parents. If parents want their kids to get a good education they have to be and active part of the process. Dicipline, respect, and a strong work ethic are the resonsibility of the parents to teach. A good home life and involved parents are key to a childs education. Parents need to look in the mirror if they feel their childs education is not at a standard they feel that it should be.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  113. David

    Of course they should be able to grade parents. As the son of a teacher and the nephew of a state Board of Education official, I have both heard from them and seen in my own classmates that many of the worst students live in homes where there is no parental guidance whatsoever. Many of these parents are also the first to blame quality teachers for their child's educational failures. Maybe if these parents were being graded themselves they might unplug the TV or punish their children for poor scholastic achievement. It may not be a bad idea for states or cities to impose punishments on extremely bad parents.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  114. Mark

    I don't think teachers necessarily need to grade parents (the Tea Party would argue it's unconstitutional since they seem to have such a tight grasp on The Constitution), but we can reform our education system so that it is a privilege, and not a right. As a teacher, why should I donate all my time and energy trying to inspire those who don't want to learn, as opposed to those who want to learn? There are at least 3-6 students per class who could care less about school, and make every effort to ruin it for those who do care. Those apathetic students should be placed in an alternative environment, and those who want to work with them should get paid double.

    Mark
    San Diego, CA

    January 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  115. Karen Miller

    This needs to be a two way accountability system. If the teachers grade the parents then the parents should also grade the teachers.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  116. Karen

    In edition to my first comment, yes Teachers' should grade parents on how much time they help their children with homework, school projects and etc.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  117. Jim from Truckee, CA

    Since were 25th, and China and 23 other countries are above us, why not try it? What we're doing now is obviously not working. And this from the husband of an overworked teacher with 15 years experience, a Master's degree, and five teaching credentials who is about to be laid off.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  118. Rasheed A.

    I agree... As a teacher in an inner-city school I have been advocating for such a measure. For years many have been trying to tie teacher's pay to classroom performance, but no one cares to try and have the states and parents accountable. Yes it is our profession; however, we need everyone on board to make a significant difference. If a teacher's pay should be dependent on student performance than so should parent's receiving social economic benefits, and states who fail to provide the teachers with the resources they need.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  119. Sam

    So finally a teacher has sense enough to spill the dirty little secret that all teachers and school administrators know but that politicians refuse to acknowledge. What's wrong with our schools, why do some groups clearly and routinely outperform and some underperform?
    Who has the first and greatest continued influence on children?? Mmmmm....let's see......maybe parent/s?...home environment?....oh really!!
    So how can a politician appeal to that when he would be much more popular to afix blame elsewhere and oh by the way he also happens to have a dandy scheme to spend a few billion more to fix it? The more central government trys to repair an issue that is eminently local the greater the chance to exacerbate the problem, if for no other reason than wasting time & resources looking in the wrong direction while attempting to preserve an institutional presence in an area that cries for direct and local involvement.

    Pennsylvania

    January 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  120. Linda

    I taught high school English for thirty years and consistently found that the students who did best were those whose parents were closely involved in and had high expectations for the performance of their children. Unfortunately, the vast majority of students did not have this support. More often than not, they came from broken families or from parents who did not recognize the importance of becoming educated in order to move ahead. Sadly, parental lack of positive input not only hinders their children but also our nation.

    Grade them? I want to say "yes," but wonder to what end?

    Linda
    Phoenix, Arizona

    January 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  121. Randy Petersen

    Grade my students' parents? No thanks. I already teach larger classes, teach an ever expanding curriculum, create online videos so my lessons are available 24/7, give up my lunch on a daily basis so I can give extra help to my students, and take home a ton of homework, tests and quizzes to grade. I don't have the time, energy, or desire to sit in judgement of my student's parents. I know, how about if all teachers, parents, administrators, and politicians act like responsible adults and perform their duties to the best of their abilities. This is what needs to happen if we want to improve education for our kids.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  122. Eardley Ham Woodbury, MN

    What good will grading parents do? If they're bad, does that mean the kids are bad? I know several people who had 'bad' parents (alcohol, drugs, crime) but they turned out fine. One started Cyrix, another is now a VP of Bechtel and yet another is a well-known writer.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  123. Jane Wright

    Now, that is one of the most refreshing, and most constructive ideas I've heard in a long time! Yes! Grading the parents would be a most 'educating' process. I was a parent of three boys, and had not an idea in the world that I was such an integral part of my childrens' education. Sure, I fed them, and met them after school, but... help them with their homework? I thought they were supposed to do it themselves! Giving parents a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down is a way of alerting them, and outlining their role to play in their childrens' success in school, and in the world.

    JSWright
    Winnetka, IL

    January 27, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  124. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Absolutely not, this is a cop-out and an excuse for teachers who don't meet the standards required to receive bonuses. Some schools already use a phone rotary system to notify parents about school activities, etc.. If parents don't take responsibility, grade the student accordingly.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  125. Terry

    Excellent idea! Also, the parents' should be able to grade the teachers, with it being public information (since the public is paying their salaries).

    January 27, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  126. Alan

    Sure, it is a great idea ... if you are interested in deflecting blame for the problem. The problem is poor quality teachers who are not willing to change yet cannot be fired because they have tenure (part of this is the lack of a comprehensive evaluation system) – this is true for K-College. As a former University Professor, I have witnessed first-hand how bad the educational system has become – at all levels. A High School diploma or college degree is not worth the paper it is written on. This does not mean that some students do not excel – of course, this is because they are innately intelligent/motivated and take the initiative and educate themselves. The problem is easy enough to fix as it would require a very straightforward solution – unfortunately, like so many other 'perpetual' problems in the Unites States, we do not have a 'real' desire to understand/identify the problem or the will to impose the changes necessary to solve the problem. Don't worry, the 'Brain Drain' will continue ... fortunately, my wife (also a University Professor) and I have taken responsibility for ensuring the adequate education of our own children.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  127. Nick

    OK sure, but what is the point of this legislation? Does it have any teeth to it? And what about the children that are being raised by older siblings as their parents effectively live in crack houses? Frankly I think we are too far gone for this to make any sort of difference.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  128. Karl in Mich

    Parent-Teacher meetings should be mandatory. Not to create a new bureaucracy, but an elected board that watches both sides and takes appropriate action to give each student their best opportunities. Make teachers do their jobs or leave and make parent do their jobs or pay a fines or even go to jail until they do.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  129. Frank in Indiana

    I did data analysis for a living. You take out outliers or bad data. Parents who raise a brat who does not do the work should be factored out of the No Child Left Behind testing by the states. Also all the 'special education' students that the nanny state thinks belong with regular classrooms. Sorry, low IQ, go learn how to put pens together to sell to the US Government.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  130. Penny Byrd

    If I am going to be paid according to my student's scores, then I quit. If these people who think "we have to do something" are so hairbrained as to believe that any teacher (maybe a damn fool) would stay in a profession if their salary could be cut according to the whims of a child, then go ahead. Do it and be ready to go out and find over 6 million teachers to take over our classrooms. Tying our pay to student's test scores means no teacher will ever buy a house, car or anything else on credit because they will never be able to depend on a monthly salary.
    If you believe that we got into this mess due to the so called fact that all teachers are just lazy or stupid, then fire us. I'm ready to walk right now.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  131. Linda Duncan

    Parental involvement is critical for every student's academic career. My own teaching career has spanned kindergarten through middle school close to 30 years. It is evident that a large percentage of parents look to our school systems to provide academics, breakfast, lunch and more. My own district provides after school tutoring three times a week . Students in attendance are provided a snack, math/reading instruction, assistance with homework and transportation home. Grading parents? How can assessments be made when all of the criteria you have listed is primarily attended to during the time frame the student is in school. And still, with all that is provided I continue to reach out to students as they are not ready nor motivated to learn. A closing thought...if parents were graded would they "loose their positions" as some educators do when mandated test scores do reach the bar. There is not enough paper in China for me to finish this thought!

    January 27, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  132. Barbara

    YES! I was a teacher for 28 years in both private and public schools. I sent home a full report card every week with grades for achievement , behavior, and comments on what the student could do to improve grades. Parents were to sign and return a slip saying they received the report and to make comments or ask questions.. Only 20% of my parents in public schools ever returned this report while 80% to 85% of my parents in the private schools returned the report. Those percentages are my report card for parents. Teachers have been telling their administrators and school boards that parents are not on board for at least 25 years; they are now starting to think that their good teachers might be right.

    Barb, National Board Certified Teacher

    January 27, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  133. Nurse Lisa in Shelton CT

    reciprocal grading and plans for constructive criticism to people who won't get aggressive may keep this from getting out of hand – if parents and teachers can't work together the kids will suffer..

    January 27, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  134. Branden from Florida

    Jack,

    I teach in Florida, just down the road from Mrs. Stargel's office. I assure you this is nothing more than a ploy to insert a wedge between parents and teachers. Last year she criticized those working in struggling schools by saying struggling schools are places where bad teachers hide out. She has no intention of reforming anything. Any idiot knows that you don't improve communication between school and home by having teachers call parents unsatisfactory, no matter how accurate the grade may be.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  135. Jwil

    Teachers are graded all the time by their students' performance. Jobs are lost, spending is cut, and classroom sizes balloon to 40+ students per teacher. The fact of the matter is teachers make an easy scapegoat for parents and members of the community. It is about time parents started doing their job and acting like parents. If a child gets in trouble at school, stop making excuses and punish that child at home. I agree with accountability in education, but most accountability needs to fall on parents.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  136. Lisa IL

    With state governments shorting the amount of time kids go to school the time used to grade parents would be better used to help and teach the children. Grading parents won't help the children but instead anger parents. Teachers do not need that on top of everything else they do.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  137. Gail

    I think these are great issues to address in parent teacher conferences–but not on the record or for the child to see. Teachers are not infallible or aware of everything that is happening in families. And how tempting would it be for a teacher with problems dealing with a child to blame parents and grade them accordingly. And last of all, no teachers grading parents until parents can have a say in whether teachers are retained and given raises.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  138. Jim McGuffey

    Great concept but parents should also be grading teachers.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  139. Lou

    The parents have the ultimate responsibility for their child’s education. If educating our children is important, then our Country should have some way to determine if that responsibility is being met.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  140. Chad

    Parental involvement is one of the leading indicators for student success. While the concept of grading the parents is well intended, I do not think it will make a difference. The good parents are already doing the necessary things for the child and the teacher. Why do you think the kids that need this parental involvement are the way they are? The parents do not care to begin with and say it is the teachers responsibility. As a teacher, I think most (not all) teachers are trying to do a good job, but are greatly limited by the parents finding any reason to blame the teacher instead of properly guiding their child. Do we blame the the doctor for the illness or the dentist for the cavity? Of course not, we go to them for help. So why do we always blame the teacher for the obstinate student?

    January 27, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  141. Billy barnard

    The state and (most) parents see teachers as servants of the community.
    From two first grade teachers in Florida, this will never fly.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  142. Lori

    Yes parents need to be involved with their children's education, but I don't know if parents need to grade them. Teachers have no idea what is going on in the child's home, what the parents schedule is, what level of education the parent even has. Judging a parent's involvement is going to upset a lot of good parents and will probably make the bad ones worse. We need to find other ways to get parents involved.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  143. vicki trejbal

    The problem with the idea of teachers grading parents is that they are often unfamiliar with the home situation: for instance, the mother may be very ill and the father absent. This is only a brief example of the many problems families may be up against while raising one or eleven (yes eleven) children. Before becoming a therapist, I taught junior high for a short time.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  144. JD

    Definitely YES! I am a junior high teacher and I only see my students for 50 minutes a day. A large chunk of my students fail to do their mathematics homework or even bring their 'tools' to class. I attempt to reach parents; frequently the phone numbers are no longer valid, or the parent is angry that I have interrupted their day... and yet when these students are not successful – I, their teacher, am blamed.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  145. beth

    Yes- grade the parents!! Maybe it will open their eyes. And if as a parent your doing what you should for YOUR child – you have nothing to worry about. Teachers don't ask for much – provide a quiet place for YOUR child to study – without TV, FB, & cell phones. Make sure YOUR child completes their homework – don't just ask them, look over it. When they have a test – drill YOUR child. Make sure YOUR child goes to bed at a decent hour without TV, FB, & cell phones. Make sure YOUR child has the supplies needed – pencil & paper for starters. AND if the teacher isn't teaching – as a parent – DEMAND that your child be moved to another teacher.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  146. Aaron, San Diego

    Why would legislators expect parents to prioritize a teacher's opinion about their parenting over parents' own assessment of the well-being of their child? If a parent isn't involved in and concerned enough about their child's education enough to provide adequate educational support, why would you expect them to 1) read their child's report card with any scrutiny or concern, and 2) respond positively to any criticism from their child's teacher?

    This seems likely to do more harm to home-school relationships than good.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  147. fyfy, Mesquite, Tx.

    Teachers grading parents? FINE, but who grades the teachers for the failing students, PARENTS???

    January 27, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  148. Momof Fiveand a Teacher too

    I'm a mother of five kids and also a teacher. Grading parents ENDANGERS a teacher's life. There are lots of really nutty people out there whose emotional response to their children is disproportionate. I can assure you that if this rule would take effect, parents receiving a poor parent grade would take revenge on the teacher-few would look at themselves honestly and ask what they need to do to improve. Many would use this parent grade to attack the parent in general charge of the childcare. Many of my students come from divorced homes and there are joint custody agreements. Can you imagine how horrible that scenario could be? How about families with a family member who is hospitalized and are doing their best given their trying circumstances? Grading parents solves little and will cause harm.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  149. Dane Steinberg

    Jack; Absolutely, we keep blaming the teachers and they deserve a lot of it, but the parents should wake up to the fact that the kids training starts at home and continues there until they leave. Our teachers are well paid, very well paid, but the product they turn out is absolutely terrible. However, we cannot blame the teachers for parents that don't care about the future of their child.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  150. Peter

    Mary ... I am a middle school teacher in the same socio-economic demographic as you. Your answer was perfect!

    January 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  151. Evan

    When my son is of school age in a few years I would be more than happy to let his teachers grade my wife and I if in return we are able to grade the teachers and administrators. Education does need to be a partnership between the schools and parents, but how many teachers out there just pass students on and aren't doing their jobs? If a teacher is graded by parents to only being performing at 80% of what they should be, why not only give them 80% of their pay? I don't say this to disparage the majority of educators who most likely are doing everything they can to prepare and develop their students, but to weed out those who have no business shaping our children.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
  152. Dale Elam

    Parents are not the problem with our education system. The teachers are the problem. I can remember when teachers got respect because they acted with dignity and respect. I can't believe the teachers I see. They dress in old levis and tee shirts. They look more like college students than teachers. Whatever happened to male teachers in suits and ties, and women dressed up? They don't get respect because they do not act respectful. Maybe parents should grade the teachers/

    January 27, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
  153. Inciteful

    While I totally agree that parental support and involvement with their child's education is paramount to the child's success as a student, the parents' grade should be mailed to them, separately, and not included on the report card. The child should not be "let off the hook" from taking responsibility for their own schoolwork, even at such a young age. Let's not give children any more excuses than they already have. As they grow older, children already blame their parents for everything.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  154. Lori

    It sounds good in theory, but as a teacher, count me out. It is not my job to judge parents. It is my job to my best for their children, to maintain open lines of communication and to offer suggestions as to how they might support their child academically. Families are facing lots of challenges of their own, and though I may be frustrated with what appears to be bad parenting, I generally don't have the whole story. Parents won't reach back if they suspect I am judging them. It is not my job.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  155. Koby

    Oh I'm pretty sure the teachers are grading parents in Shanghai, so let's do just that!!! With solutions like that from leaders who don't have a clue we shouldn't be surprised our 15-year olds rank 25th out of 34 countries!

    January 27, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  156. Reid

    As a 2nd grade teacher, I fully support grading parents. In fact, I would go so far as to say that a child's education comes more from their parents than from what we teachers can do at school. I can, with a high degree of accuracy, tell which parents spend time working with their children reinforcing literacy, math, and basic social skills at home, only by observing the progress of their child in class. It is no wonder that the most successful students (academically, socially, and emotionally) are those whom have actively involved parents at home. By the way, these students also go on to become outstanding citizens and achieve great things for our society. Parents need to be held accountable if we hope to make this world a better place for our kids to grow up in.

    Reid
    Tomahawk, Wisconsin

    January 27, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  157. Teacher

    I'm a teacher in the Bronx, where a startling majority of students do not attend school in rain or snow; where school breaks are routinely extended by an additional week as to allow for lengthy vacations to the Caribbean; and where I have greater success in getting parents to show up to school to argue over a confiscated hoodie (sweatshirt) than I do for any academically related issue. I believe teachers should issue grades to parents, not just for grades K – 3, but throughout their child's K – 12 education.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  158. KAM

    If you're going to grade the students and the parents, who's going to grade the teachers?!

    Requiring parents to participate more in their childrens education is a great idea, however, I believe teachers should be responsible to TEACH ALL STUDENTS, no excuses! If a teacher sees a student is not completing school and/or homework, that teacher should be required to work out a solution to get through to that student. Which should included contacting and getting parent(s) involved and/or arranging a tudor or study class is for student. Doing nothing, should never be accepted even if parents are not connecting with teacher. If your "boss" or coworker doesn't show up for work, does this mean you are exempt from doing your job?!

    January 27, 2011 at 6:51 pm |