To the Editor:
The Mississippi legislature is considering a proposal, House Bill 4, that is attempting to prescribe criteria to measure and ensure parents’ involvement in their children’s public education (“Mississippi Lawmaker: Give Parents Grades Along With Their Children”). The blog post notes that the author of the bill, Rep. Gregory Holloway, a Democrat, has said he hasn’t met with any resistance to the plan.
Parents for Public Schools, the organization I run, vehemently opposes this bill and its recent amendments.
Mississippi HB 4 proposes that parents be graded on their children’s in-school behavior as well as what is defined in the bill as “parent involvement.” Grades would be based on criteria that include children’s tardiness, attendance, homework completion, and preparation for tests and parents’ attendance at in-person parent-teacher conferences and maintenance of correspondence with their children’s teachers.
The parents’ grades would be included on their children’s report cards.
Unfortunately, this type of legislation is developed when parents from diverse families are not intentionally and actively involved in helping to write legislation that would directly impact them.
Mississippi HB 4 ignores the real challenges of parents who work multiple jobs and of families in poverty who won’t always have the resources, such as money or transportation, to meet the criteria in the bill.
There is a lack of evidence to support that the criteria in the bill are an effective means to increase parent involvement or improve a child’s academic success.
Parents for Public Schools will not support any parent-involvement legislation that lacks a sense of equity and excludes the voice of parents. We oppose Mississippi House Bill 4.
Parents for Public Schools
A version of this article appeared in the April 13, 2016 edition of Education Week as Organization Takes a Stand Opposing Proposed Report Cards for Parents