Saturday, March 5, 2011

Where's the lline

Teachers should grade parents, a state Senator says (files another version of parent-grading bill)  Is the title of an article in the Orlando Sentinel by lesliepostal, Leslie concludes her article with an  observation, one that I consider important.

Like Stargel’s bill, Storms is sure to raise questions about a Big Brother attitude and government intrusion. Because , based on comments on Stargel’s proposal, even parents on top of the school-involvement game didn’t seem to like lawmakers inserting themselves in such private matters ( though there were readers who applauded the representatives efforts to hold parents, and not just schools, accountable)

Most of you remember the story the My Grandson Tyler, about the death of an eight year old boy named Tyler who passed away early the morning after Christmas. Tyler had been taking a drug called Metadate (a trade name for Ritalin), at the request of his school. An important part of the story dealt with how Tyler's parent's felt pressured by the school to medicate their son. It would be easy to dismiss that as a one teacher. one school, one mistake. Shortly after the blog was published it became clear that wasn't the case.. These are quotes are from some of the comments readers posted on the story:

This is incredibly sad. I had experienced the same pressures from the faculty when my oldest son was around 10, they even had the audacity to present a 'permission slip' to have him evaluated, to medicate him in my absence, and that I had everything explained to me and I understood everything including advserse affects and that I assume all responsibility.................... Lefty

..........The next week I got another call at work, same thing, I again refused. And again I told them to take him out of gifted, again they refused. The following week came the third call, again at work, except this time I was essentially accused of neglect for not being willing to have my son tested and being a bad mother for wanting him out of gifted. I was brow-beaten to the point that I agreed to do a 'home assessment', a multipaged questionaire though I still refused to take him to the doctor.......

.........The most disturbing part of it all was the persistence of the school in their quest to have him diagnosed as ADHD. And not even because of behavior problems but because he wasn't getting the grades they thought he should have been............... Fast Z

I too had two boys that the school had wanted me to put on medication for ADHD. I complide, for their benefit. My boys were Zombies, I chose to take them off of the medication....... justlisa1121

The school system "suggested" I have my Daughter and later my son medicated. My answer can not be posted here...Keep in mind this was the same school system that said my Daughter was either gifted or retarded........................... Captain Black Eagle

.................The other thing is the over use of medication to control children's behavior. We have had experience with it and know that best solution to hyper activity is activity. Focused activity. One child the school wanted to medicate but sports worked better. Same with a grand child. It is amazing how focused they can be on the ball field or up in a tree stand. It is amazing how much energy is used when you make em run a few laps around the neighborhood.............. Aquagrump

Those quotes are from comments readers posted publicly, I received many more in emails and private messages from members of various opinion forums where discuss news, politics and comment.  Reality for Eve a member of one of those forums pointed me in the direction of a website,  Fight for Kids, dedicated to the issue.  If you are one of the many parents feeling pressured to medicate your child, I suggest you pay the site a visit.   
Do I believe that schools or teachers are evil, as one commentor on My Grandson Tyler suggested?  Not at all.  What I believe is well intended state legislatures have already given the schools a great deal of power over the lives of American Parents.  The perception of most parents, and some teachers and educators is they have more authority than the actually do.  The purpose of public education is assist parents in teaching our children what they must know to understand the world around them.  It's purpose is not to replace, judge or supersede parents.

Most parents are supportive of our schools and teachers, especially teachers they know, this is how it should be.  For many years our legislatures and local districts have given the schools most of what they've asked for, including larger more attractive building, smaller class sizes, better pay and benefits, Believe it or not Air Conditioning was a major and expensive improvement, those old classrooms used to be miserable in early fall and summer.  We've also our schools an increasing amount of authority over our lives and the lives of our children.  As Tyler's story shows, even well intended over reach of authority can have tragic results.

Kids talk to each other about their report cards, if teachers start grading parents that's going to be hot topic of discussion..  It doesn't take much imagination

"Hey Mary, heard your mommy flunked being a mommy, wait till my mommy hears that". 

Within minutes of the kids getting home from school, Mary's mom's entire neighborhood, family, friends, church, boss and her auto mechanic know Mary's mom is a failure.  Sooner or later it will find it's way into her credit report.  What if Mary's Mom's only offense was to "Say No to Drugs" that a well intentioned teacher strongly believed to be in the childs best interests.

It's easy to say it won't happen because, "it would be against the rules" or "it would be unethical'.  Believe me, it will happen.  Human nature is what it is, if you give people power and authorty they will use it, it's inevitable some will overuse it, believing under some circumstances it's justified.  A few will absolutely abuse it.   If this law passes, how many parents will have the courage, and the resources, to risk questioning The System ?  I don't believe most teachers will want any part of this, but some will, and those are the ones who we should already be worrying about.

Is it worth the risk, where do we draw the line?


  1. This bill is being proposed by State Sen. Rhonda Storms, R -Brandon. In January, Rep. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, filed the first parent grading bill. What happened to too much government? A legislative requirement would then lead to electronic documentation and part of a child's history into adulthood. A tweak of an algorithm and suddenly the information becomes a variable on the student and his family.

    Isn't this one a no-brainer? Draw the line, but it really means picking up the phone or sending an email to those who will vote on this bill if it passes committees etc. I am not watching the progress on this one, but someone should. It isn't hard.

  2. This is a step in issuing parenting licenses. One must submit to a back-ground check, mental evaluation and huge fees to apply to the government for permission to get impregnated or donate sperm.
    If you have child without permission, the child will be taken from you and given to some "couple" who isn't a racist teapartier.

  3. ACLU should have fun with this one... I have to say, as a substitute teacher, nearly every kid is on something today. Disgusting. The problem is discipline. No one wants to mess with it. Not the teachers, principal, counselors, and most of all the parent. It's NUTS.. True story: I had a kid in my class who was very disruptive. I made notes to the teacher I was filling in for. She decided to call the parent AT WORK... so that HE could come in and observe. This parent really tore apart the teacher for 1) calling him at work. 2) Not doing her job. He was irate!

    It all goes down to lawsuit. Rather than sent the kid out into the hall they rather medicate them. Crazy! Her I literally wanted to discipline him verbally.. but couldn't!

  4. Some of this is hard for me to understand, I go bad to the days when teachers carried yardsticks... And believe me, they know how to use 'em.

  5. Yep, the only drug I remember in school was insulin. Sure some kids were disruptive, but I'd say less than 2%. Most of them overcame any behavior problems. The main difference was 2 parent households and parent participation in their childs education. Overall, I am not seeing change for the better.

  6. You hit the nail on the head when you raise the issue of parenting.

    I will say outright that there is no way on this planet that teachers should ever be allowed to 'grade' parents. The teacher had them in a far different environment than their home and yes, they see the outcome of less-than-effective parenting, but they don't know anything about what happens outside of the school's walls.

    I have been blessed with two 'sets' of children, my last two having been born many years after the first three. With the older kids there was little tolerance for misbehavior and medicating the child was not the solution for those who 'acted up', guidance and punishment was. Uhoh, I used a dirty word- punishment. Some of us might remember what that means but today's parents have no clue what it entails.

    One day my fourth child, again may years younger than her next oldest sibling, came home from kindergarten and told me that I "can't hit her anymore". Now, I am not adverse to a spanking now and again but I'd bet at that point she'd only had one. (she was a great kid from day one).
    She said if I hit her the teacher would "call a number" and tell on me. I said "You know who she's calling right?" She said "No". I said that she was calling someone who would take her away from me and give her to new parents. Her eyes got about as big as plates and she said "the teacher didn't tell us THAT". I told her to go ahead and try and find out for herself. She was having none of that.

    I ended that conversation by explaining the difference between abuse and discipline and punishment. I also told her that nothing in our home comes even close to abuse that from now until forever what happens at home is our business and no one else's. She took that advise (warning) to heart and now at almost 24 seems to greatly respect another's personal info and isn't one to gossip.

    To be clear- I believed in guidance and discipline. I knew each child's worst punishment as each has their own, and I rode my kids like white on rice. They had no tvs, computers, or phones in their rooms. If they wanted to use them they had to come into the public spaces in the house.

    Sometime, and hopefully soon, parents will figure out their true responsibility, that is to raise good adults. No more no less. They need to stop being their children's friend and activities counsellor and start teaching their kids the values like self responsibility, accountability, goal setting, work ethics, and respect for themselves and others. These kids that are growing up today will be the leaders of tomorrow, they need to learn how to do the job.

    Stop the schools from interfering with a parent's right to raise their children. Stop the fear that a mild punishment, like a spanking, will lead to abuse charges. It's time to tell parents that discipline is an essential part of parenting instead of telling the kids that their parents cannot discipline them.

  7. Homeschooling looks better all the time.

    Funny thing , I only remember having to chew through one umblical cord.

  8. Madpole, you're right about homeschool, great way to reduce budget shortfalls; Federal, State and local.. If 20% of parents did it, it would save taxpayers 10's of billions..

    "Z" Over the last 40 years "Modern Experts" have determined that what worked for a million years wasn't working

  9. A proponent for this bill said this:
    "My point in the previous posts is really that when does the matter of a parents lack of involvement become an act of abuse that would warrant state intervention. That is the 'concept' that has to be legislated."

    Earlier he said that implementation is difficult, but the "concept" requires a law. If the "concept" becomes law, who sets the rules for implementation? Do parents get "warnings" and more calls at work to provide evidence and support for the grade? Don't we already have sufficient laws in place with regard to abuse?
    What about the costs associated with the "concept"? Talk about costs of implementation? Everyone stays silent on impacts of unfunded mandates these days.

  10. How do you "define" an unsatisfactory parent? Short of imposing some measures including licensing, testing and in home observation all you have is one teacher's personal opinion, in writing. A teacher who may never have met the parent and is basing thier opinion on ASSumption

    The Swan is right, they'll be a lawsuit for every parent who gets a bad grade. Wonder how they'll factor that into the laws cost?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.