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Mississippi Lawmaker: Give Parents Grades Along With Their Children

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If a Mississippi lawmaker has his way, students might not be the only ones getting report cards in that state—parents might be graded, too.

A bill introduced in the state legislature would include grades for parents on students' report cards, rating parents on whether their children turned in homework and how well they communicated with teachers, among other items.

"What we wanted to do is try to shock parents back into reality to say, 'If your kid is failing, then you are failing your kid," Rep. Gregory Holloway, a Democrat.

Only school districts with accreditation ratings of C, D, or F would be required to grade parents. It would be optional for districts with A or B ratings.

Report cards for kindergarten through 12th grades would have sections on report cards for parents to be rated as "satisfactory," "in need of improvement," or "unsatisfactory."

This isn't the first time the idea of parent report cards has come up.

Florida lawmakers considered a similar bill in 2011, but it failed, said Matt Weyer, education policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Tennessee approved legislation in 2012, but it differs greatly from Mississippi's proposal. The four-year pilot was only for grades kindergarten through 3rd, and the parent evaluations are voluntary, said Hunter Railey, policy researcher at the Education Commission of the States.

Chicago Public Schools also experimented with parent-involvement report cards at 30 schools back in 2000.

Holloway said he didn't model his bill on any program, but got the idea after visiting schools. He noticed that the high-achieving schools also had strong parental involvement.

"I think it's a reality check," Holloway said. "It makes parents understand that you have to be involved in the education of your children."

Holloway said he has yet to receive any resistance to the plan. The bill has been referred to the state House Education Committee.

Contact Sarah Tully at [email protected].

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