Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Texas Republican to criminalize failure to meet with teachers

What a stupid #ss idea from a stupid #ss legislator! From tha AP via Yahoo News:
Parents beware: Miss a meeting with your child's teacher and it could cost you a $500 fine and a criminal record.

A Republican state lawmaker from Baytown has filed a bill that would charge parents of public school students with a misdemeanor and fine them for playing hooky from a scheduled parent-teacher conference.

Rep. Wayne Smith said Wednesday he wants to get parents involved in their child's education.

"I think it helps the kids for the parents and teachers to communicate. That's all the intent was," Smith said.

Kathy Carlson, a fifth-grade teacher at Furneaux Elementary School in Carrollton, said she's had a handful of parents who skip meetings with teachers, but she winced at the idea of charging them.

"I don't know if we need to call it criminal. I would rather see accountability brought a different way, rather than fines or punishments," Carlson said.

"On the whole, parents want what's best for their kids," she said. "Sometimes I think they think we're out to get them. When you're talking about fining and pressing criminal charges, it kind of reflects that attitude."
Parents could avoid prosecution if they have a "reasonable excuse" for not showing up. State education officials or local school districts would probably be responsible for defining reasonable.
Austin parent Mary Christine Reed has children in third and seventh grades and is involved in her parent-teacher association. She said she knows of some problems teachers have had, but as a parent, wonders if a steep fine or criminal charge would make them worse.

"If the idea is to create communication, to send them into the criminal justice system ... is going to do nothing but have a negative impact," Reed said. "It would make parents more scared of the school."
Here are what I consider "reasonable excuses" not to meet with teachers:

1. You don't freakin' feel like it! See that whole "freedom of association" thingy in that annoying First Amendment in the Constitution!

2. Your teacher stinks. Literally. I don't know about you, but I avoid smelly people like Barney Frank avoids a t#tty bar.

3. You still hold on to the quaint notion that YOU, not the school, know what is in your kid's best interest, and in YOUR determination, YOU will handle the situation how YOU see fit.

4. Did I mention "You don't freakin' feel like it"?

Obviously, parents should be involved in their kids' education. No question. However, does any sane individual out there think that criminalizing failing to meet with the teacher is constitutional, much less a great idea?

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