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Should teachers grade parents?
A Florida legislator wants public school teachers to grade the parents of their students. Does the idea merit an A+ or an F?
Under a proposed Florida law, parents who fail to help their kids with test preparation, homework, and even their appearance could get a "needs improvement" grade from teachers.
Under a proposed Florida law, parents who fail to help their kids with test preparation, homework, and even their appearance could get a "needs improvement" grade from teachers.
Corbis
F

lorida state Rep. Kelli Stargel has introduced a bill that would require public school teachers to grade not only their students, but the students' parents as well. Moms and dads would be judged satisfactory, unsatisfactory, or "needs improvement," based on criteria like their kids' test preparation, appearance, and attendance. "We have student accountability, we have teacher accountability, and we have administration accountability," says Stargel, a Republican. "This was the missing link." Should schools, and parents, embrace the proposal?

The idea is worth trying: "Rating parents doesn't really seem like such a bad idea," says Vancouver's The Province in an editorial. Having teachers pass judgment on their effective employers — taxpaying parents — may be "controversial," but "parental involvement is widely recognized as key to a student's success," so it makes sense to include them in the accountability chain.
"It's not a teacher's job to grade parents"

But teachers are already overburdened: It's "a nutty idea," says Valerie Strauss in The Washington Post. Teachers already "have enough to do" and if they can't back up the "unsatisfactory" parent grades with any action, why add to their work load? And there's a contradiction here: Legislators want to acknowledge that "home life has a major impact on academic performance," but they still want to base teachers' pay on test scores for which parents are partially responsible.
"Legislation: Teachers should grade parents"

And this wouldn't really help problem parents: I bet most teachers would relish the chance "to vent about parents falling down on the job," says Mark Lane in The Daytona Beach News-Journal. But parents already feel judged enough, and formalizing the process would just lead to "an adversarial spiral." To be sure, most parents "need improvement," but the "unsatisfactory" ones are the least likely to care about what teachers think. "Parents who don't care tend to not care on a variety of fronts."
"Bill to grade public school parents gets an 'unsatisfactory'"

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