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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Should Florida teachers grade parents?



Florida Rep. Kelli Stargel, a Lakeland Republican, got lots of state and national press last spring -- but no legislative traction -- for her bill to have public school teachers educate parents about their role in education and then rate their performance.

She's revised the proposal since it died, excising sections that would have teachers develop and distribute parent involvement materials and adding some grading criteria. Then she got Sen. Steve Wise, a Jacksonville Republican, to file identical legislation in the Senate.

And so now the idea is back for another go round.

This year's bill would have every teacher in pre-k through fifth grade evaluate the involvement of every parent of every child in his or her class with a rating of satisfactory, needs improvement or unsatisfactory in three areas:

  • Frequency of unexcused absences
  • Parental response to requests for conferences or communication
  • Parental submission of complete and correct information such as immunization records and emergency contact information

Criteria from last year's bill, such as student's completion of homework and "physical preparation for school that has an effect on mental preparation," are removed.

It's clear that the lawmakers are trying to get at the heart of a criticism that many teachers often raise when talking about their evaluations, that they should not be held solely responsible for children's school performance when they cannot control what goes on at home. But would teachers' report cards of parent performance resolve the problem? Or simply highlight it?

After all, the penalties are none. The information would simply be compiled and reported to the governor and legislative leaders. Teachers, meanwhile, would have yet another requirement to fulfill. Good idea? Or another potential wedge between the public schools and the parents?

[Last modified: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 2:44pm]


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