Colorado Law Would Let Parents be More Involved in School

Filed under: In The News

blackboardA new law that would give parents time off for school events like parent-teacher conferences won preliminary approval in the Colorado House of Representatives Friday and may soon be headed for the state Senate.

The statute would force employers to give parents time off to deal with educational matters like disciplinary issues, truancy, special-education services, response to interventions, drop-out prevention and attendance problems.

Opponents of the bill say it could discourage companies from locating in Colorado, and that it places an unfair burden on businesses. The law would only apply to full-time workers and would not cover independent contractors, domestic servants working in a private home, seasonal workers or ranch hands.

Those in favor of the measure say educating Colorado's children is not just the responsibility of parents, but is also a "community responsibility."

So now we have to legislate when and how parents can deal with their children's education? This is, in a word, ridiculous. Yes, it takes a village and all that, but is it really necessary to enact a law forcing employers to give parents time off to deal with their truant kids?

And I'm sorry, but if truancy is that big a deal in your house, then this law isn't going to solve that problem.

I get that some folks need to take time off during the day to attend to matters like parent-teacher conferences or special-education committee meetings. That stuff is important. However, most white-collar workers are almost always able to get time off during the day. I know, because I was a white-collar worker.

The people most is need of this kind of law are the ones who aren't covered: the migrant worker, the ranch hand, the nanny -- these are the folks whose bosses might be less forgiving of an absence.

The Colorado measure is viewed by some as burden to business and by others as a way to help "legislate good parenting." But really, can good parenting be legislated? And so what if you miss one parent-teacher conference? Is that a one-way ticket to the Bad Parenting Hall of Shame?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.