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Mississippi House passes bill requiring teachers to grade parents

By   /   March 9, 2016  /   News  /   No Comments

If a bill passed by the Mississippi House becomes law, students won’t be the only ones receiving grades from teachers.

Photo illustration by Steve Wilson

BAD GRADE: If a bill that passed in the Mississippi House becomes law, teachers will grade parents on their involvement with their children’s education

Under House Bill 4, also known as the Parent Involvement and Accountability Act, teachers would be required to grade parents’ involvement with their children’s education.

The legislation, by state Rep. Gregory Holloway (D-Hazlehurst), would mandate a section be added to each child’s report card on which the parents are graded on their responsiveness to communication with teachers, the students’ completion of homework and readiness for tests, and the frequency of absences and tardiness.

Mary Clare Reim, research associate on education at the Heritage Foundation, said the bill is the wrong way to encourage more parental involvement.

“My initial reaction is, this is absurd,” Reim said. “The concept that parents should be graded by teachers on their involvement is a reversal of what the education system should look like. Parents should be grading teachers on their performance. Putting grades on parental involvement from the top down is not the way this should work.”

The bill also would require any school district graded by the Mississippi Department of Education on its annual evaluations as a C or below to:

  • Assign each child mandatory homework.
  • Require all children be taught proper manuscript and cursive handwriting.
  • Require all children to have a daily reading and a separate writing assignment.
  • Require all children to read at least one book per month and write a book report on it.
  • Mandate participation for parents in at least one supportive function for the school, such as assisting at the bus stop, working a concession stand at an athletic event or serving in the Parent Teacher Association.
  • Establish dress codes for teachers.
  • Mandate school uniforms.
  • Initiate two parent-teacher conferences per nine-week term for students not performing up to grade level requirements at mid-term.

These requirements would affect much of the state: 88 of Mississippi’s 151 school districts scored a C or below in the MDE’s annual assessment of districts and individual schools in 2014.

The Republican-dominated House passed the measure 75-43. The bill includes what is known as a reverse repealer, which would force the measure into a conference committee with the Senate. Lawmakers use the reverse repealer as a way to keep a bill alive past the deadline for legislative action.

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Steve Wilson is a writer and a journalist whose work has appeared on Fox News, the Huffington Post and the Daily Signal. He serves as the Mississippi reporter for Watchdog.org. Beginning his career as a sports writer, he has worked for the Mobile Press-Register (Ala.), the LaGrange Daily News (Ga.), Highlands Today (Fla.),McComb Enterprise-Journal (Miss.), the Biloxi Sun Herald(Miss.) and the Vicksburg Post (Miss.) His bachelor's degree is in journalism with a minor in political science from the University of Alabama. He served four-plus years in the United States Coast Guard after his high school graduation and is a native of Mobile, Ala. Steve can be reached at [email protected]