Wednesday, March 16, 2016
The Mississippi Legislature is considering a proposal, House Bill 4. The bill, aimed at public education, attempts to prescribe criteria to measure and ensure parent involvement. Parents for Public Schools vehemently opposes this bill and its recent amendments.
Mississippi House Bill 4 proposes that parents be "graded" on their child's in-school behavior as well as what is defined in the bill as parent involvement. Grades would be based on criteria such as children wearing uniforms, parents contributing to one supportive service with emphasis on attending in-person parent-teacher conferences. The parents' grade would be included on the child's report card.
Unfortunately, this is the type of legislation that is developed when parents from diverse families are not intentionally and actively involved in helping to write legislation that would directly impact them.
Mississippi House Bill 4 ignores the real challenges of parents who work multiple jobs and families in poverty who won't always have the resources, such as money or transportation, to meet the criteria in the bill, criteria that are without a research basis. There is a lack of evidence to support that the criteria in the bill are effective means to increase parent involvement or improve a child's academic success.
PPS will not support any parent involvement legislation that lacks a sense of equity and excludes the parent voice. We oppose Mississippi House Bill 4.
Dr. Catherine Cushinberry, Executive director, Parents for Public Schools National