State Rep. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, filed a bill Tuesday
that would require elementary school teachers to evaluate
parents based on "the quality" of their involvement in their
Parents with children in pre-K-to-third-grade would
get "satisfactory," "needs improvement" or "unsatisfactory"
ratings in four broad categories.
They would be judged on their response to requests for
meetings or communication, their children's completion of
homework and preparation for tests, their children's absentee
and tardy rates and their children's "physical preparation
for school," including a good night's sleep and appropriate
Parents' grades would appear on their kids' report cards.
"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 explains in the bill, HB 255.
"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," the bill
states. Stargel, a mother of five, could not be reached late
Parents and teachers raised questions about the bill, saying
it could backfire and make parent-teacher relations more
tense. They also feared it would add to teachers' workloads
if they had to keep track of parent progress as well as their
"I think it would create a more hostile environment if the
parent wasn't doing what they were supposed to do," said
Andrew Spar, president of the Volusia Teachers Organization,
that county's teachers union.
"At the end of the day, I don't think this would change
anything. It would just create more work."
Spar said the descriptions of ideal parental involvement in
Stargel's bill are good and there is no doubt that involved
parents are key to student success. But trying to create a
formal grading system — complete with parent appeals — would
have little impact but to "put a tremendous burden on the
teacher," he said.
Susan Persis, president of the Florida Association of School
Administrators and the principal at Pine Trail Elementary in
Ormond Beach, has other concerns – fairness being the chief
"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 and is there at school every day,"
"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 Seminole County, thinks
Stargel's bill is a great idea.
Parents who are doing their part would appreciate the
positive feedback from teachers, he said. Those who aren't
doing their part might be encouraged to start.
"Someone who truly wants their child to learn and succeed
and go above and beyond, they're not going to take it as an
insult — they're going to step up and do more," he said.
It's not clear whether Stargel's bill will get any traction
in the legislative session that starts in March, when many
education-related ideas will be considered.
Leslie Postal can be reached at 407-420-5273 or
email@example.com. Denise-Marie Balona can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 386-228-5008.
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Comments (7)Add / View comments | Discussion FAQ
Sunkissed Adventures at 8:54 PM January 18, 2011
A parent that works multiple jobs can still answer a phone
and respond to a note if they care about their child.
There are parents who fill out the school registration card
and provide Micky D's as their home phone number simply to
avoid any phone calls from the school. I think it's about
time EVERYONE be held accountable- teacher, student and
SeaWatcher at 8:38 PM January 18, 2011
Teachers can grade parents when parents are allowed to grade
teachers. And the catch here is that the grade the teachers
receive from the parents determines whether they get a raise
or if they lose their jobs. Can't work just one way.
SOUTHERN YANKEE Speaks at 8:12 PM January 18, 2011
More paperwork for the teacher. Good idea if a way could be
figured out how to establish a grade or rating.