Report Card Day Could Include Grades for Parents Under Proposed Florida Bill

Filed under: In The News

Kids may not be the only ones receiving report cards in Florida. Credit: Getty

Ever feel like your kid's teacher is judging you based on how many field trips you've chaperoned, what you pack in his lunch box or the state of Junior's homework? Well, in one Florida school district, teachers may soon be officially scoring parents who make the grade and failing those who don't.

Forget earning an "E" for effort. Skip a parent-teacher conference or drop your kid off late to school and you flunk.

Florida state lawmakers have introduced a bill that would evaluate grade school parents on "the quality" of their involvement in their children's schools, the Orlando Sentinel reports. And the parents' grade will appear right alongside their child's on the report card.

Parents with children in pre-K through third grade would get "satisfactory," "needs improvement" or "unsatisfactory" ratings in categories including their responses to requests for meetings; communication with the teacher and administrators; their children's completion of homework and readiness for tests; their kid's attendance and tardy rates; and the student's "physical preparation for school," such as a good night's sleep and appropriate meals.

State Rep. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, filed the bill Jan. 18.

"Although the school environment has a great impact on a child's well-being and academic success, parents and the home environment form the foundation of a child's present and future life," Stargel, a mother of five, says in the bill, the newspaper reports. "Without proper parental involvement in all aspects of a child's life, the child's prospects to be a well-equipped and useful member of society are greatly diminished."

Parents and school leaders are expressing concerns about the parent grading.

"I think it would create a more hostile environment if the parent wasn't doing what they were supposed to do," Andrew Spar, president of the Volusia Teachers Organization, the county's teachers union, tells the newspaper.

Susan Persis, president of the Florida Association of School Administrators and principal at Pine Trail Elementary in Ormond Beach, Fla., has other concerns -- fairness being the chief among them.

"There are some parents who work two and three jobs and who care about their kids just as much as the parent who's the president of the PTA, is there at school every day," Persis tells the Sentinel. "It could be a time thing. It could be something going on in the family. Who is the teacher to say, 'You're not doing a good job?' "

But John Wilson, whose two sons are in kindergarten and third grade at Bentley Elementary in Sanford, Fla., tells the newspaper he thinks it is a great idea.

"Parents who are doing their part would appreciate the positive feedback from teachers," he tells the Sentinel. "Those who aren't doing their part might be encouraged to start."

The bill will be considered in March.

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