Student grades: Are schools using grades to prod parents to comply with rules, deadlines?

Sally Harrell is the parent of two children. As a three-term member of Georgia House of Representatives, she served on the House Education Committee. The DeKalb resident has also served as a co-president of the Emory-LaVista Parent Council.

Harrell sent me an interesting piece on a topic that we have touched on in the past: Grading students on non class-related actions.

In her note, Harrell  wrote, “For a few years now I have suspected that teachers knowingly use grades to obtain parental compliance. Graded homework is an example. But never has it been made so obvious to me than through the Georgia Cyber Academy’s grade category, called ‘advisement.’ Worth 5 percent of the student grade in academic subjects, it includes such things as reading parent handbooks, participating in parent/teacher conferences, agreeing to teach your child about Body Mass Index and registration with GA College 411. My burning question is: ‘Is it ethical to use student grades to obtain parental compliance?’”

She tackles that question in this guest column:

By Sally Harrell

For the last four years I’ve graded many papers. I didn’t assign letter grades; I merely marked answers wrong, or wrote comments in the margins when I thought something wasn’t quite right. But I’m not a teacher. I’m a former social worker who decided to teach my kids at home.

It didn’t take me long to realize that the value of checking papers lay in discussing the errors immediately with my children so that they could learn from their mistakes. There was simply no need for letter grades.

Then I remembered something that had troubled me during my children’s three year attendance at a traditional “brick and mortar” public school. They sometimes brought home a piece of paper that contained a test score, but the actual test was not attached. I didn’t get to see which problems my children missed, nor did my children ever see what they did wrong. I was horrified when I realized what a huge opportunity had been missed.

While the missed opportunity was disappointing, I still held out hope that grades indicate mastery. But what if a grade did not indicate mastery? Would it still be a grade?

Enter the state’s largest public, virtual, state-wide, charter school, the Georgia Cyber Academy. Yes, that’s quite a few adjectives. Take them one at a time and you’ll figure out what I’m talking about. I teach my kids at home using curriculum provided by the state, which contracts with a private company to run a state-wide “school” that enrolls approximately 12,000 students. I am provided a remote teacher who teaches some optional on-line classes, assigns grades, and holds phone conferences with me once a quarter.

Last year, along with my children’s report cards, I received the following explanation: “The letter grades shown are not intended to be an indication of your student’s knowledge level or mastery in any given subject area.”

So if grades are not about mastery, just what are they?

The school’s answer was, “They are intended to reflect your student’s progress in the on-line school, submitted writing assignments, blue ribbons earned in Study Island, and completion of Study Island monthly custom assessments.”

In other words, my child’s “A” was merely a reflection of whether or not he did the work. Grades were now detached from learning and mastery. So what’s left in a grade?

A lot.

Georgia Cyber Academy is the brainchild of the private, for-profit and publicly traded company K12, Inc. As with any publicly traded company, the bottom line is profit. During the last few years K12, Inc. has greatly expanded its market in public education by obtaining contracts with state and local governments to initiate virtual charter schools. Georgia has been one of K12’s most successful states in terms of the number of students enrolled.

In order to protect its state contract, Georgia Cyber Academy must put some effort into compliance. But often, in order for the school to be compliant, the school must ask parents to be compliant. Most important, parents must commit to ensuring that their children take the end-of-the-year state test (CRCT). But then there’s a long list of other tasks, some more necessary than others: conferences, signing off on handbooks, watching on-line orientations, signing disciplinary agreements, teaching students about Body Mass Index (state law), completing career assessments (state law), etc.

Parents must be compliant so that Georgia Cyber Academy can be compliant, so that K12 Inc.’s contract is protected, so that K12 looks good on the New York Stock Exchange.

This circles me back to grades. At Georgia Cyber Academy, five percent of the child’s grade is based on whether or not I, as the parent, complete the list of tasks above. It’s called “advisement,” and it amounts to one-half of a letter grade in academic subjects.

So, if I miss a conference, my child’s grade is marked down in math, reading, grammar, social studies and science. So what’s in a grade? Not mastery of learning, but government contract compliance and the New York Stock Exchange!

Whether your child attends a traditional, public “brick and mortar” school, a public charter school, or even a private school, it is in your best interest to ask what comprises your child’s grade. Although the example of the Georgia Cyber Academy is extreme, I would not be at all surprised to find such tactics being used in other educational institutions.

Grades have become commerce that translates into college entrance, scholarships and, yes, even stock values in the world of for-profit education. And many teachers and administrators have figured out that parents will do anything for a grade.

–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

86 comments Add your comment

Peter Smagorinsky

December 12th, 2012
5:29 am

In the schools I taught in in Illinois (1976-1990), we could only grade students on academic work, and would get overruled by the administration if our grading practices extended to anything else.

SGA Teacher

December 12th, 2012
5:47 am

Note the important point she makes: “private, for-profit and publicly traded company K1″

Translation: We can do whatever we want as far as grades go; you can deal with it or find another school.

Won’t be too long before this happens in Charter Schools, where parents will be *required* to do certain things in order to keep their child in charter schools.

And those who will complain most vociferously, will be the same ones who voted FOR charter schools.

Long live democracy and capitalism!

Pride and Joy

December 12th, 2012
5:56 am

I completely understand both sides of this argument. Teachers in brick and mortar schools want parental involvement but have no control over the parent. In those cases, the teacher can only ask. It is certainly not the child’s fault if his or her parent does not attend. However, the brick and mortar traitional school is not threatened if the parent does not attend.
If the cyber academy does not receive parental involvement it is not allowed to exist, therefore, the only option they have to enforce compliance is to affect a child’s grade, which still isnt’ fair.
I have found that parent-techer conferences are meaningless in Atlanta Public Schools. The teachers were late to the conference and they simply presented my childrens’ papers to me and asked questions that were an invasion of my private life. It was not a conference. It was simply a lecture. Ironically, my children are high-performers and well-behaved. I am intelligent, confident and educated. I can only imagine how intimidated some of the parents might have felt when talking to these teachers. It feels like teachers think of us as the enemy to be shot instead of the partners we truly want to be.
Back to the subject –
Parent-teacher conferences MUST BE meaningful for the parents. They must be a two-way conversation instead of a finger-pointing lecture.
The teachers need to be flexible with the times because most parents work. They need to be flexible and perform the conference over the phone if necessary or scan and fax the material to the parent over the Internet to an email account.
Punishing children for something the parent and teachers cannot or will not do is out of the question, of course, or parental involvement needs to be a separate grade for the cyber academy — give the parents a grade for parental involvement AND GIVE the teacher a grade for the conference too measuring things like flexibility, timeliness and quality of the conference.
If we are going to grade the adults we have to grade ALL the adults — including the teacher.

Pride and Joy

December 12th, 2012
6:02 am

SGA your prediction that charter schools will not have to follow the law is silly.
Charter schools using taxpayer money have to follow the same laws as traditional public schools.
Your scare tactics are tiresome and pointless. The charter amendment passed by a huge margin. Charters are here to stay and are growing. I just got an email for a new charter school in Atlanta near Clairmont and Briarcliff road, one that plans to teach children in two different languages, English, and another the parent chooses.
Claiming that charter schools will grade students on parent involvement is just a flat out lie and will certainly not affect people like me from wanting charter schools.

dc

December 12th, 2012
6:31 am

Let’s see…..you chose to enroll your child in this school. And now you are complaining about their requirements. Not really hard, MOVE. That’s the beauty of charters (ideally), you can choose to move to the school that best works for you and your child.

Now…..please quit writing as if this school is doing something wrong. You knew the rules (or at least had access to them), and chose to go there.

Dalton Whitfield

December 12th, 2012
6:42 am

@SGA Teacher

You are absolutely correct.

catlady

December 12th, 2012
6:47 am

Sally: H3ll, we can’t even hold STUDENTS accountable for what they have or haven’t done! Didn’t do homework? No problem. Made a 20 on a test? No problem. Refused to do anything in class? No problem.

Also, Sally, you ARE your child’s teacher. First and foremost.

And, finally, WHY did you sign your child up for a school that you don’t agree with? I mean, it’s not like you are ZONED there! Step up. Take responsibility for your actions!

Jack ®

December 12th, 2012
6:57 am

Body Mass Index. Somehow I managed to complete my studies without ever hearing about BMI. And I’ve never hired anyone with BMI being a consideration. I suppose I’m gonna have to change my job application forms and add a new line about BMI and delete the line that requires the applicant to be able to read and write.

Wilbur

December 12th, 2012
7:07 am

Petty vicious Public School advocates don’t seem to have an ounce of common sense or compassion.

AP History Teacher

December 12th, 2012
7:28 am

If parents dont want to teach their kids to behave, then I guess its left up to the teacher. Sad is that many kids have said, “You are more of a dad to me than my own parents.”

I dont normally connect parental compliance with my grade book, but you discover pretty quickly that kids are a smaller version of their parents. I usually try to reward responsibility, but those moments are rare.

I agree with catlady…fail a test…oh you can retake that test 2 additional times if preferred. Not turn in homework from August? Oh, you can turn that in at the end of the semester.

Sally just needs to buck up and accept the fact she CHOSE to send her kid there and if she cant handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Sally Harell- was/is she a Democrat during her time under the dome? I thought they hated charter schools. I wouldn’t expect anything but whining and hypocrisy from a politician.

Progressive Humanist

December 12th, 2012
7:32 am

In the assessment courses I teach I stress to students (undergraduates and graduates) that their k-12 instruction and assessment should focus solely on academics. In my courses, though, I do grade on professionalism/participation because part of what we are responsible for in certifying teachers is assessing that they are professional enough to be responsible for 150 children/adolescents/young adults on a daily basis.

mystery poster

December 12th, 2012
7:39 am

Ditto here, we are not allowed to assign grades for anything not content related.

Interesting irony here, Sally chooses to home school her kids, then complains when she has learn the content herself and grade their assignments.

mystery poster

December 12th, 2012
7:39 am

*oops.. when she has TO learn…

Truth in Moderation

December 12th, 2012
7:49 am

“Sally chooses to home school her kids”

Please note that “home school” is a legally defined term used in this state’s home school law. K-12 is a PUBLIC school, NOT a “home school.” True home schoolers have been complaining about this deliberate confusion of terms.

Astropig

December 12th, 2012
7:59 am

Please help me here. I’m lost.

It seems that the people that are trashing this approach are the same public school advocates that blame every bad thing that happens in public schools on the very people that these charters are trying to change the behavior of: Parents.

Traditional public school defenders (charter haters) never get more than a couple of sentences into a critique of the school system or their students without bashing the parents for lack of involvement or general apathy and here we have an approach to that problem that addresses that. And they don’t like this solution because…They can’t use it. It seems that this approach introduces another stakeholder into the process of education that has some skin in the game and thus will be more likely to protect their investment of time and energy. Hard to see how this won’t help make the whole process better.
It seems to this writer that the subtext of the criticism is that this is being done by private companies which are outside the education establishment grip.That’s the real reason that public school teachers and administrators don’t like it.And parents that don’t like this stricture are of course free to stick their kids back in the traditional public school in their zip code. That’s the way the system is supposed to work.Looks like it is working from where I sit.

Elaine

December 12th, 2012
8:01 am

I teach in Cobb. We were always told (and in such a way that I assumed it was district policy) that we cannot give official grades for “parental compliance” things like parent signatures. This was because students shouldn’t be penalized for things out of their direct control, particularly when so many kids don’t see their parents often due to multiple jobs or other commitments.

Old Guy

December 12th, 2012
8:11 am

I teach in a very progressive middle school in Hall County. We have moved for 3 years closer to standards based classrooms. This is the best academic school I have ever been associated with. But the biggest problem we face is grading. Grades and the way they are administered are totally outdated and have virtually no place in a modern classroom. If a student turns in poorly done or incomplete work I return it with instructions on how to make it correct. It’s about the learning not getting it right the first try. If a student is lax on doing daily work and homework but makes A’s on the assessmnets should I give him or her a lower grade? I am amazed at what some people still grade. But remember, we give grades the way we always have because parents want to see a grade and colleges and universities still use grades to rank and admit students.

No Dog in the Fight

December 12th, 2012
8:16 am

Wow….this is like a sci-fi movie. The failure of the home, the public school, and the lack of any morals in society is bearing some D*A*M*N bitter fruit. I know it sounds simplistic, but really people. With no home training, the village is trying to raise the child……..and failing miserably.

AP History Teacher

December 12th, 2012
8:20 am

So I cannot take points off a kid’s grade if he is distracting another presentation? Doesnt seem logical. They are hindering the student from presenting. They should be penalized. To be a great presenter, you have to be a better listener.

Theres a way around:
No Parent Signatures on Academic Contracts, Cant accept missing work…
Academic Contracts return pretty fast

@Astropig: No Charter Hating here. Don’t really care since I don’t have any kids and that’s their decision. Just tell some of your charter friends to stop bashing public school teachers who are doing good. Please go visit some of the schools in metro to see absentee parenting. Hence, this is why many teacher I teach with dont have, nor ever want kids.

Fred ™

December 12th, 2012
8:25 am

It is sad how many ADULTS here, even at least one TEACHER lack the reading comprehension skills to understand what Sally was saying.

dc says “you chose to enroll your child in this school. And now you are complaining about their requirements.”

No dc, she is COMMENTING on the fact that the letter grade has nothing to do with the child’s understanding ie MASTERY of the subject, yet will drop because of the Parents action. The child can miss every answer on a test and it doesn’t matter. Seems strange to me as well, but then I’m actually reading the words the woman wrote without a preconceived political agenda.

I think she has a legitimate CONCERN (note I said concern, not complaint). You folks with your political agenda’s need to learn to read. You need to read WITHOUT a preconceived notion of what the author is trying to say. And lastly, you need to brush up on your reading comprehension skills.

I’m happy with my daughter’s schools for the most part.

Another view

December 12th, 2012
8:32 am

Peter, the law is still the same in Illinois, at least where my wife teaches High School.

Maureen Downey

December 12th, 2012
8:40 am

#To all, We had a discussion on this blog a while back on schools giving a slight grade boost for kids who participated in fundraisers. I do think that this issue goes back to the fundamental question of what a grade means or should mean. My system has adopted IB grading, which, while far more complicated than seeing an A or B on the report card, seems to avoid these pitfalls.
Maureen

jarvis

December 12th, 2012
8:56 am

Fred, a concern = worry. A complaint is the vocalization or presentation of said concern.
Pick up a dictionary before your “complain” about others’ reading comprehension.

To the point at hand, a child’s grade should not be tied to anything his/her parents do or don’t do. At the same time, if you don’t like what your charter school is doing, you can always leave it.

FlaTony

December 12th, 2012
9:12 am

First, the citizens of the state of Georgia recently voted their approval to treat children as commodities to be traded in exchange for good grades and test scores. The supporters of the Amendment One vote were strongly backed by the for-profit education industry. It’s a shame that our state has chosen this path.

Second, if parents did the things the writer references there would be no need to even have this discussion. A portion of teachers’ grades has always been and will always be based on compliance. There is no way to root out the issue of compliance from their grades and I wonder if we should even fret over it. After all, one of the important lessons kids have to learn in life is about personal responsibility. On-time work, following instructions properly, working together with others when required, completing homework, and, yes, returning signed papers can be counted as compliance items.

Third, there are many examples in life of consequences for failure to comply with rules, regulations and procedures. Kids should begin to learn from a young age that this is an aspect of life that is very real. Making sure that kids learn to be responsible should be one of the number one goals of parents. With that in mind, I question why a parent would want to excuse their child’s non-compliance with required items.

Please, let’s acknowledge that children need to learn to handle responsibilities and teachers should be allowed to use grades as one means to communicate with students and families on that quality of personal responsibility.

Carlos

December 12th, 2012
9:16 am

If as a parent, you don’t like the GA Cyber program, then don’t sign up your child for it

The school administrators are in a position to compare achievement at schools where parents are forced into high involvement and those where they have waived their rules. I’d like to see those comparisons, then analyze the socio-economic status of the students in the subject schools.

It’s certainly possible that the GA Cyber practice increases student performance, in particular, among those students having lower socio-economic status whose parent’s behavior has been changed by the practice. It’s also possible that it hasn’t.

Truth in Moderation

December 12th, 2012
9:26 am

“If a student turns in poorly done or incomplete work I return it with instructions on how to make it correct. It’s about the learning not getting it right the first try.”

You are absolutely correct. This is a huge advantage of home schooling. Home educators can quickly tell if their child is “getting it,” and can give timely feedback on any confusion the student may have. The parent can always emphasize the LEARNING and not the grade. Also, in the home setting there are numerous opportunities to practically apply what the student is learning, from writing thank you notes for gifts, to learning how to follow a recipe and use fraction measurements. An older sibling can read aloud to a younger one.

dc

December 12th, 2012
9:34 am

you tell em, Fred. Clearly she wasn’t complaining….huh? I’m sure the comment that goes “Not mastery of learning, but government contract compliance and the New York Stock Exchange!” isn’t a complaint at all. Whatever.

Reality_Check

December 12th, 2012
9:37 am

I heard many general statements during the election season that charters are exempt from some rules that apply to public schools. I never saw any details. Does anyone have a link or information concerning these details?

Michele

December 12th, 2012
9:40 am

Grades based upon parent compliance are unethical regardless of the motivation. Should a student be accepted at a university based upon grades raised by a responsible mommy? NO!

Grades = Commerce

December 12th, 2012
9:53 am

Exactly right.

And this has nothing to do with the difference between traditional public schools and charter schools – the exact same thing happens in the traditional public schools, with a child’s math grade (not even his conduct or “compliance” or “responsibility” grade) affected by whether the parent complies by timely returning forms.

I’m not against assessing kids for attributes such as responsibility, and if public school teachers are too overworked to do more more helpful, more detailed critique, then perhaps a simple letter grade each quarter will have to do. But the grade should be labeled as such:

Mastery of Math Concepts: 100%
Math Homework Compliance: 60%
Conduct in Math Class: F

Doing otherwise dilutes the value of all of the grades, and blurs what needs to be done to improve the child’s performance. To give the same child a C in math dramatically overstates his need to learn math and dramatically understates his need to learn to behave better.

Grading him based on his parents’ performance is even more nonsensical and wrong. But yes, it does happen, and it’s not just a charter school thing. Not at all.

In fact, I can go you one better: As Maureen says, the APS schools participating in Boosterthon openly allow teachers to excuse kids from homework in exchange for their parents donating money to the fundraiser. If professors openly raised students’ grades at a public or private university in exchange for financial donations to the university, can you imagine the outcry? It’s a crime for a teacher to accept cash in exchange for helping children get better scores on the CRCT, but it’s perfectly fine for the school to accept cash in exchange for giving a student an automatic “pass” on homework? Is the homework important for mastery of material, or not? If yes, how can you justify excusing a child from doing it (or excuse giving him an automatic 100% on it) because his parents donate money to a school? If no, how can you justify giving the homework in the first place (and how can you avoid the accusation that it’s extortion to allow only families to donate money to get out of doing unnecessary busy work)?

AlreadySheared

December 12th, 2012
9:55 am

“Is it ethical to use student grades to obtain parental compliance?”
No.

However, “Graded homework is an example” – no, it’s not. Homework IS academic.

BehindEnemyLines

December 12th, 2012
10:18 am

Bonus points for showing up at PTA meetings and non-athletic extracurricular activities (that you weren’t part of) were around 30+ years ago in my very public school. This isn’t exactly new ground.

no name used

December 12th, 2012
10:24 am

It may not be allowed in Cobb County, but Bartow county sure allows parental non compliance to affect a kids grade. My nephew was given the paperwork to turn back into the school-somehow it never made it. As a result, in his English class, he has 3 zeros-1 for each of the unreturned papers. These had to do with the parents reading the handbook, a contact list (which they had from the year before), and a internet agreement. I’m not saying my nephew should not have turned the stuff in (he should and was blessed out horribly for it by the 3 adults most prevalent in his life), but these are clearly not academics. They do affect the grades. It takes 6 100’s to make up for 3 zeros.

jarvis

December 12th, 2012
10:41 am

@FLATony, the writer was talking about parent compliance. There is no responsibility in tying a person’s level of achievment to the conformity of their parent.

3schoolkids

December 12th, 2012
10:52 am

I find this sentence especially troubling:

Last year, along with my children’s report cards, I received the following explanation: “The letter grades shown are not intended to be an indication of your student’s knowledge level or mastery in any given subject area.”

The K12 curriculum is based on a “mastery” model. You can only move on to the next lesson when you have scored an 80 or above on assessments. You can only move on to the next grade level when you have successfully passed all assessments for each unit and grade level in each subject. I’m wondering why any parent would bother with a school that has a disclaimer with it’s report cards.

The statement is necessary as K12 is a for-profit, publicly traded company in which they may be held legally responsible for “misinformation” provided in their annual report. Lose money on K12 stock because Georgia K12 students can’t pass the EOCT’s or aren’t graduating? Not our fault, we provided a disclaimer with our report cards.

To all the posters who don’t already understand this, Georgia Cyber Academy is NOT homeschooling. It is a state paid, at home PUBLIC online charter school that utilizes (pays for) the K12 curriculum. Anyone thinking about enrolling needs to check out the K12 curriculum and decide if it is what they want for their child/children as there is no deviation from their curriculum. If you are not comfortable with parent response influencing grades, don’t enroll.

Also, like many district authorized and state authorized charter schools, the health of their charter is directly impacted by parental feedback (to the point of requiring certain percentages of parents approving of or liking their experience at the school based on surveys). This is why these schools are tying student grades to parental participation. They also use this parental participation to explain away student failures. Georgia Cyber Academy defended itself fiercely against complaints from the state regarding their abysmal track record with special needs students, by pointing out they didn’t have many complaints from parents (parents who may not have realized they needed to outline ANY deficiencies or complaints in each and every survey).

If your child’s grade depended on feedback on a parent survey would that influence the tone of your response?

Batgirl

December 12th, 2012
11:02 am

It looks to me like Ms. Harrell wants to home school, sort of, but doesn’t want to pay for the curriculum materials herself, so she gets them for free from the cyber academy, including, I believe, a free computer for each child. Now she does not want to follow the academy’s rules.

Frankly, if the things she says about the school are true, I don’t know why anyone in their right mind would not run screaming from it. It seems that she has some hard choices to make and doesn’t like any of her options. Oh, well!

bootney farnsworth

December 12th, 2012
11:45 am

so much here, not sure where to begin….

-it seems Sally has rediscovered the wheel. participation/parental perks are nearly as old as education itself. back in the dark ages when I was in school, you got bonus points for buying x many tickets to the donkey ball game, section leader in band if your parents were useful, subtle/not so subtle pressure to forgive miscues if the family was involved in school politics…

-the other side being if you/your family were considered opposition, you can’t breath out of rhythm.
I was (probably no surprise to many) considered a gadfly, constantly challenging rules and procedures. When trying to bully my parents didn’t work, I found myself setting records for detention.

-as was mentioned above, extra credit was given to students of parents who attended PTA, organized fund raisers, ect.

-its in your best interest to know what comprises your kids grades. no kidding.

-while wrong, its a pity that parents must be bribed with grade points to show interest in their kid’s education.

-so does she like grades or not. seems to be on both sides of the issue.

-if she was horrified to not have the test to review, did she ask to see it? I had no problem contacting teachers when my kids grades didn’t make sense

Democrat Man

December 12th, 2012
11:50 am

How else is the Cyber Academy suppose to gain compliance? It sounds reasonable to me. If you don’t like it…you can always go to the local public school.

Maude

December 12th, 2012
12:11 pm

If parents were doing their jobs this would not be in place. The fact schools have been forced to include the parent’s duty with grades shows the world that people in the United States do not value eduction.

Math Teacher

December 12th, 2012
12:17 pm

@Pride And Joy – you wrote – “The teachers need to be flexible with the times because most parents work.”

What exactly are you suggesting? We work too; and our hours are 7:00am – 3:00pm. We don’t get paid any overtime for being at school after those hours. If a parent works until 5:30pm, am I expected to wait until he or she can come? Or, even better – am I expected to sit there and wait for them NOT to show up? I think that the parent should make arrangements to meet the teachers’ availability, and not the other way around. Would you tell your doctor that you work, so, he or she would have to accomodate your schedule?

Chris

December 12th, 2012
12:19 pm

Behavior also can be taken into account in grading, whether consciously or sub-consciously by the teacher. If you have a student who has been disruptive all year and they’ve passed all assessments and are on the borderline of a grade, what do you think the teacher is going to go with. My wife teaches in Gwinnett and they’ve basically been told to not give a kid a 69. Find a way to make it a 68 or pass them with a 70.

As far as this article goes, the biggest parental compliance that needs to happen is parents supporting teachers who are trying to cater to the needs of an entire classroom. So many teachers call or email home and either get no response or given the standard response, “Yeah, un-huh,” from parents and nothing changes. There are a lot of selfish kids in the classroom who look for attention, taking away from the ability of others to learn.

Inman Parker

December 12th, 2012
12:25 pm

There has been a tendency lately for government on all levels to regulate private behavior through a reward/punishment system. Witness the high taxes on tobacco. We shouldn’t be surprised then when schools attempt to regulate (or persuade) parental behavior by such measures as you describe. What works for tobacco will work in the same way to get you to read that handbook! Don’t worry about Big Brother approaching. He has already been invited inside and is seated next to you.

Bootney...

December 12th, 2012
12:42 pm

” if you/your family were considered opposition, you can’t breath out of rhythm.”

Kim Jong Un would be so proud of you!

burntgrassroot

December 12th, 2012
1:19 pm

Once I saw a sign at a restaurant that said, “If you enjoy our food and service, tell a friend. If not, tell us.” Concerns/complaints can be constructive criticism for the improvement of any organization, and should be first directed to that organization. And, there’s a bourgeois penchant for deprecating things that have value, to make one and one’s choices appear more valuable. I could be wrong, but I inferred from Mrs. Harrell’s essay that she preferred the Georgia Cyber Academy for her children, and by lamenting the consequences of that choice subtly deprecates others’ inability to home school by that means. It seems that any educational system and process has areas that could change for the better. The challenge is identifying, acknowledging and working to improve those areas for the benefit of all stakeholders, primarily the students.

CCM

December 12th, 2012
2:07 pm

My child was being given a “0″ for homework when I failed to sign the agenda. The school started sending home a paper to be signed nightly for a week before each test. I am not signing each night that my child studied (I will as soon as the teacher sends me a paper that they sign daily about each topic covered in class). AND child better not get a zero in homework. It is rediculous and wrong to hold my child accountable to my actions.

CCM

December 12th, 2012
2:09 pm

@ Elaine….Cobb is where the PUBLIC school I am talking about is located.

Private Citizen

December 12th, 2012
2:18 pm

letter grades shown are not intended to be an indication of your student’s knowledge level or mastery in any given subject area ha!

and in other news, in structural engineering, “flexibility” = “weakness” and here’s proof: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YQ0_CG9kp0#t=32m28s

Math Teacher

December 12th, 2012
2:22 pm

@CCM – what you’re asking for is ridiculous (not “rediculous”) and unfeasible. I don’t know how many children you have, but, I’m sure the teacher has WAY more students that he/she is responsible for. So, to expect the teacher to send you, and every other parent a written statement as to what your child learned on a daily basis is just plain stupid. You should be grateful that your child’s teacher cares enough about the students to request that the parents do their part at home. I agree that the students shouldn’t be held accountable for (not “to”) their parents’ actions, but, where is your accountability as a parent?

bootney farnsworth

December 12th, 2012
2:50 pm

somebody needs to work on their reading comprehension.

Pat Farley

December 12th, 2012
2:52 pm

“So, if I miss a conference, my child’s grade is marked down in math, reading, grammar, social studies and science. So what’s in a grade? Not mastery of learning, but government contract compliance and the New York Stock Exchange!”

No you are just a very bad parent.

“In order to protect its state contract, Georgia Cyber Academy must put some effort into compliance. But often, in order for the school to be compliant, the school must ask parents to be compliant. Most important, parents must commit to ensuring that their children take the end-of-the-year state test (CRCT). But then there’s a long list of other tasks, some more necessary than others: conferences, signing off on handbooks, watching on-line orientations, signing disciplinary agreements, teaching students about Body Mass Index (state law), completing career assessments (state law), etc.”

Of course they must be in compliance. The laws were written and interpreted to give the greatest amount of students the best education possible within our system. They should be applauded for requiring parents to at least act like good parents.