Good News: Your kid passed! Bad News: You didn’t!

Imagine going to a parent-teacher conference with a report for the student AND the parent! Well, one Florida school district is proposing just that.  Parents will be graded on responses to requests for meetings, attendance at conferences, completion of homework, attendance and tardy rates, and their child’s readiness for school. 

 When I first read this, I thought, “What! Another paper to fill out! I hope my district doesn’t see this!” However, as this article gestated in my mind, I began to change my tune.  At my school, students get punished for being tardy too often and in my classroom, I take away recess from students who do not complete homework.  It’s hard to punish a child when you know it’s the parent’ fault.  What do you say to a child when they tell you that they couldn’t wake up their mom or my dad was too busy watching TV to help me with my homework? Even as teachers are held accountable for student achievement, parents also need to be held accountable as well.

A parent should never be held solely responsible for their child’s ability to achieve in school.  A classroom teacher will always carry the bulk of that responsibility. We all know that many parents are working several jobs to make ends meet or have numerous family members to take care of.  However, they still have a child in elementary school.  They need to help that child with homework.  They need to put that child to bed at a decent time and also make sure that child wakes up and gets to school on time.  They need to make sure that child is feed and ready to sit in a classroom and not be distracted.  Parents also need to make sure that they respond to the classroom teacher in a timely manner.  These are all areas that teachers have no way to help their students.  This is where the teamwork between the parent and the teacher will really show some success for the child.

I have taught 2nd grade for 7 years now.  My first year, I expected to meet all of my parents.  I was a bit disheartened that the year went by and there were several parents I never met.  And surprise, it was the kids who didn’t do homework or were late all the time!  This pattern has continued every year in my classroom.  Its January now and I have 5 parents I have never met.  I have one parent that I have never even heard from.  They don’t have a working phone number and they don’t return any letter or note home.  Their daughter showed up at my room as  a brand new student all by herself.  I’m considering retention for this student but I have not been able to communicate with the parents about it. 

I wonder if this parent received a report card, would things change. Is a parent report card the answer? Maybe there should be a parent contract as well.  What if public schools made parents sign a contract with these stipulations when they registered their child?


Donnie Dicus

Donnie Dicus

Tucson, Arizona

My name is Donnie Dicus and I have been teaching in Arizona for 12 years. I came to Arizona from Southern Illinois to attend the University of Arizona in Tucson. I graduated in 2003 and began teaching second grade. I taught second grade in Tucson for 8 years before moving to Phoenix. I now teach third grade. I achieved National Board Certification in 2012 and I received my Master’s Degree from Grand Canyon University in 2015. I achieved a National Board Certificate in Middle Childhood Generalist in 2012. I’ve been teaching mainstream and SEI 3rd grade classrooms in the Cartwright School District in Phoenix since 2013. I taught 2nd grade and was a math interventionist in Tucson in the Amphitheater School District. I’ve been a technology coach and have helped teachers apply technology to improve instruction. I facilitate coaching cohorts for teachers going through the National Board process and organize peer groups at my site to pair new teachers with experienced teachers. In 2010 I was nominated as a Rodel Semi-Finalist for Exemplary teaching in 2010 and featured as a Teacher Leader in February 2016 by the Arizona K12 Center.
I have class pictures of every single student I have taught behind my desk on my wall. After 12 years, that is approximately 350 students. My students know that this is my Wall of Accomplishments. I am so proud of the difference I made in their lives. I became a teacher to make a difference and I strive to do so every day.

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