Putting Education Reform To The Test

Lawmaker Proposes Grading Florida’s Parents

Florida House of Representatives

Rep. Kelli Stargel's bill would require teachers to evaluate their students' parents.

Florida law requires grades for students, teachers, schools and districts. So why not parents as well?

Rep. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, has introduced a bill — HB 543 — to do just that.

Fort Myers News-Press columnist Sam Cook thinks the proposed grades are a bad idea and unlikely to improve the relationship between teachers, parents and students.

“The bill will incite acrimony,” Cook writes. “Both sides will get defensive. Arguments will erupt. HB 543 won’t bring together parents and teachers. It will tear them apart.”

One thing is clear from reading the bill: It will create more work for teachers.

It’s also not clear whether the bill would just treat the symptoms of disinterested parents, or actually deal with the underlying causes.

Teachers would have to issue grades in three categories: The frequency with which a student is late or absent; the parent’s response to requests for conferences or communication; and the thoroughness and accuracy of a student’s records, including immunization records, phone numbers and emergency contacts.

The teacher would have to issue a grade in each category of “satisfactory,” “needs improvement” or “unsatisfactory.”

Each school board would set the exact requirements for their district’s reports.

The bill would also allow parents to appeal their evaluation and require school districts to gather the data and submit a report to the Florida Department of Education.

What do you think parents and teachers? Is this a waste of time? Will this help get parents to pay more attention?


  • Dirhart

    This is a total waste of time, and will just lead to more teacher bashing.  Yes, many parents are not doing a good job.  There is little we can really do about it.

  • Sandra

    Another unfunded and unfundable mandate. Requires schools to,pick up the tab and leaves impact on counties vague. See Legislative Analysis. County impact = property taxes.

  • Stargel forgets, both she and the teachers work at the pleasure of the parents.. 

    Parents as voters and Taxpayers are the employers, if anything they have the right to grade individual teachers, NOT the other way around–

    I would also challenge Rep Stargel to show where there is any Constitutional Authority for the State to use Schools as a means to evaluate parents– 

    • Howkcd

      Teachers pay taxes too. We’re paying part of our own salaries.

    • teacherabc123

      At the pleasure of parents who know nothing of child development, special education needs, or curriculum? This sounds like the politicians who stick their noses in everything and propose they know the topic. If anything, teacher evaluations should be made by actual educators with no bias (as in NOT their current principal who is swamped with red tape and other garbage). (Although I DO think that parents SHOULD let the teacher/admin know if they are not communicating with them effectively and NOT answering their questions satisfactorily.)

  • Colossal waste of time for everyone.  The underlying needs must be addressed for any positive result, and this act has no teeth to accomplish this.  What is the point?

  • Ken4rd

    A “do nothing” proposal from a lawmaker totally out of touch with the schools, the electorate, and the realities of everyday people.  This, among other things, creates more bureaucratic work for teachers, already overworked and underpaid and to what end.

  • robert thibault

    what a waste of money that would be

    • Stefani

      As a teacher, what I think the congresswoman is really asking for is accountability of parents.  Parents and teachers need to work together for the benefit of children and I am not sure this would bill would encourage cooperation.  However, the current climate of teacher bashing needs to stop.  I know no teacher who entered the profession for money and I put my heart and time into what I do.  I know of people who have left the teaching profession and college students who have changed majors due to the low regard toward teachers.  If your child has a teacher working hard please let them know you appreciate what they do.  A positive acknowledgement of all we do would be greatly appreciated.

      • Kelly Smith

        I wish schools would go back to understanding parents do in fact pay them and our opinions are valid and stop with this nanny state and double speak.

        P.S. Teachers get gifts, get paid, get holidays off. Guess what us stay at home moms get? We don’t get paid, we get to put up with the B.S education system treating us as though we’re damned if we get involved and damned if you don’t…more so if you are intelligent.

        I’d actually love to have your job. It would be nice to actually get paid. :D

        I know of people who do work ALOT of hours and get paid less than teachers. Try that job or hey go work at Mcdonalds for a month then get back with me on how awful it is to be a teacher. I hope you aren’t an elementary school teacher. They seem to complain the most yet have it easier than middle and high school.

        I’ve noticed this combat the parents stance for a while now. Sounds more like a smoke screen and makes me wonder, what are you doing that could be wrong.

  • artfrankmiami

    I’m being forced to volunteer 60 hrs of my time or pay $150 to my child’s school. We already volunteer in both Boy Scouts and the Civil Air Patrol plus our Church. So if I don’t volunteer to the school, i’d be graded as a bad parent? My wife works at a job that is almost impossible for her to leave during the work day.

    • Anonymous


      Does your child attend a charter school? It’s common for charter schools to require parents to volunteer.

      Thanks for the feedback.

  • Jadams3

    The evaluation would be nonb-binding, so there isn’t any need for constitutional authority. I just think it’s an intersting concept.

  • Trfg

    Totally waste of time.

  • Lina

    As a former teacher, I do not think this bill is feasible, however, I think that it is well intentioned. I have worked in some challenging environments and had been held accountable for the performance of students who repeatedly failed to come to school ( some of who were also defiant and oppositional in the classroom). It was beyond frustrating when parents were uncooperative during attempts to meet with or contact them even though I made myself available by coming hour early and staying until 6 pm or later, often tutoring other students for no monetary gain. Frustration wasn’t even the word when I worked 60 hour weeks tailoring plans to individual students who would either not attend or misbehave during school so when it was time for my class they had already been sent to the office or into a CSI classroom.  Hence why I left teaching and went back to grad school full time…the sacrifice is worth it for some but as a young educated woman (with plenty of student loans to repay) I wanted to keep my sanity. I have nothing but praise for those who remain in most challenging public schools.

    • Feasibility is the key word. Teachers work after hours to grade paper, projects etc, etc. Now to grade parents is a whole other animal. Parents/caregivers need to understand that as we move towards the future they need to participate in their children education, how that is going to be accomplish is difficult. We have little girls having babies, overworked parent and tired grandparents.I honestly believe that we need to start thinking about technology as a supplemental tool for learning. Additionally, we need to support early education.  Institute parent training with incentives, so that we can  get ahead of this situation. My mother always told me, “You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.” We need to work as unit to advance the next generation. I commend the representative for bringing the parent issue to the forefront. Maybe just maybe, this will be what will make a difference, not the bill…the conversation. There is so much more than lesson planning and instruction that goes into learning. It is home life, nutrition, self-esteem, studying skills, remediation, etc. etc. 

      • Kelly Smith

        I know of people that work 80 hours a week. They aren’t teachers. They get no holidays off either nor a summer vacation.

  • Connie

    Stargel,you are out of touch.  Do you know that some parents work 3 jobs just to feed and house their children.  Some children need basic life support.  It would be far better for you to focus on the real needs of the family.  You are just adding another layer of bureaucracy.  Thumbs down to this sort of legislation. 

  • Rep. Stargel- Please keep your nose out of my life- Thank You.
    The idea may be a feasible thought that got way off track. As a parent of an out of area straight
    ” A” child…..what effect does my child being to school on time have on her learning?  She arrives at school the first 10 minutes of her day are wasted with announcements.
     I ask for conferences just to keep involved.
    As for expecting emergency contacts and shot records up to date-this information is completed multiple times throughout the year. These documents are held in the school office. How would it be relevant to make a teacher audit this information?
     I feel you would rather waste teaching time doing document control and paper pushing- when teachers are already losing valuable time training children for FCAT prep. I feel that if you wanted to do something beneficial for children -eliminate FCAT. Stop teaching for the test. I’m having to teach history at home as it is not an FCAT subject at the elementary level. You are way of track my dear.

  • ESEteacher

    Ummm………. wait, so let me have MORE paperwork while simultaneously butchering my rapport with parents? How about instead of us “grading” parents, we actually take a holistic approach to grading schools and testing kids. How about we note on a student’s poor test results how they come from a home with a single parent who as to work two jobs, or gets bounced between grandma, uncle, and dad’s house all week and can’t get homework done? THEN we could look at where a child’s true deficits come from instead of blaming teachers or parents in tough situations

  • Bdupton

    I love the concept but what is the consequence to the parent if they don’t make the grade? If there’s no consequence for an action you cannot shape a new behavior!

  • Donduffy

    Absolute proof that current Republicans are unfit to govern.

  • Let’s say a teacher and a parent for whatever reason don’t see eye to eye on something.  Perhaps the teacher has a bias against the parent(s) or they don’t agree on how something should be handled. .  The parent(s) are given a bad grade or the parent(s) are judged unfairly.  Parent appeal the decision or sue the school. .  This will cost the school money (it won’t save anything as it cost money to file paperwork).  It’s not going to create bonds between parents and teachers. 

  • Tommy

    How about this amazing idea, make sure the teachers do their friggeng jobs and maybe stop taking money out of the school budget.

  • Has anyone thought of this type of situation and what could happen.  Teacher knows that a student in their class comes from a dysfunctional family and puts this in the comments when grading the parents. Writing this into a report could put people at risk of being harmed but at the same time if this is known, wouldn’t it be put in as the teacher is grading the parents.  Really wonder what a teacher would do in that case because this is a no win situation.  

    One of the parents sees the report takes it personally and then in a fit of rage  beats up their spouse or their child or goes after the teacher or harms someone else because of what was said. Some people don’t act or think rationally and you have to take this into account as well.

  • Another thing to consider.  We pay taxes and the salaries of teachers.  Teachers don’t pay parents to have children or pay the bills(housing, clothing, food) relating to be a parent.  If they did, then perhaps they could grade them or evaulate the parents.

  • Scheerco

    What a waste of time, money and resources. You can’t fail a parent.  You can’t reteach parenting. You can’t even find a parent when you need them.  That’s the problem with education today, single parent households, babies having babies, and no literacy to boot. Add all that together with of spoon full of no manners, and you have a generation of kids that play all day and never crack a book. I blame the parents.  On the other hand, I have some remarkable kids with parents who are there an contact me at every blip in the grade book. Those parents are wonderful and their kids are on target.  Why the government has time and money to create a parent report card is beyond me.  Haven’t had a raise in 5 years and they can’t even get the school grades out in a timely manner.  They should get a grade. F does not mean Fantastic.

  • muppetsense

    Having now lived in Florida for 11 years, I can see what might have inspired the lawmaker to suggest this policy. This state seems to have a higher proportion of parents with questionable parenting skills. However, I agree with most comments – this would be a nightmare to enforce. Teachers must have the right to elicit better participation and partnership from parents in educating their children. But as history has shown us, institutionalizing or legalizing social norms can be a problem, most of all in this country where everyone values their right to live their life however they chose to. Unfortunately, some Florida parents put to the test how much responsibility in child-raising is pushed to institutions such as schools. Sorry folks, I have no answer other than to exhort parents-to-be to please face parenthood with the full realization that you will be responsible for many things including determining the future.

  • AFishel

    It could be valuable to make a note as to whether a parent is “involved” or “not involved” with their child’s education.  I think the data would help school districts explain some of the improvement gaps between regions and point to schools where more community involvement/volunteers/aids/assistants would be most beneficial.

  • Judikutner

    Ms. Stargel has yet to realize that you cannot police ethicial/moral/responsible behaviour. 

  • Swampdog

    Educrats grading parents?  What a joke and waste of time and money!  And this coming from a Republican?  Stargel should be ashamed.

  • Govtouttamylife

    There is NO basis in law for this to possibly pass. It has no viability and basically amounts to a bureaucratic judgement of parenting skills which in turn serves no purpose whatsoever other than to incite acrimony between parents and schools. Parents ARE NOT employees who can be fired however they should vote irresponsible lawmakers like this one out of office and save some tax dollars. Government FOR THE PEOPLE, NOT GOVERNMENT CONTROL.

  • Kelly Smith

    There is too much deflecting going on in schools to put parents on the defense or blame kids for everything. I think teachers are a little spoiled as some don’t even grade homework or classwork. Guess who does! Parent volunteers. This is a slap in the face for the already judgemental education system. Stop trying to scapegoat problems in the classroom. TEACHERS GET PAID BETTER THAN SOME PEOPLE I KNOW THAT WORK LONGER HOURS SO KNOCK IT OFF. Oh boohoo…have to grade all these papers my butt.

    Will teachers be graded too? Should they be? The problem is not the parents it’s the nanny state run amok. Parents are paying teachers salary. Although there is this illusion that it’s FREE. No it’s not. How about start giving parents more respect.

    Do stay at home moms get paid for raising and teaching their own child? NO. Get a helping hand? Barely. So spare me the speeches about money. It’s greed and laziness at play but nobody wants to talk about that so deflection is used.

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