Legislation was introduced Thursday, March 25, 2010, to involve parents more in their children’s education. The “Parents’ Declaration of Responsibilities”, which would affect all public and charter schools in the state, seems like an unnecessary adoption of common sense. Parents would be asked to sign the declaration at the beginning of each school year stating that they would commit to spending 15 minutes each evening helping their children with their homework or resolve to volunteer to help with school functions throughout the school year. Local parent/teacher organizations would help draft the declaration. There would be no penalty for noncompliance and no forcing of either parent to sign the declaration. Why then would the state ask for such legislation to be passed?
Delaware currently has no laws which require schools to inform the public of parental involvement. When deciding which school to send their children to parents have no information regarding how much community involvement to expect. House Bill 350 would require schools to publish the percentage of parents which signed the “Parents’ Declaration of Responsibilities” as well as how funds are being used to enhance parent involvement.
It seems activity in this bill would be mainly up to parents to enforce. With a lack of reinforcement from parents in the value of education, almost 2,000 students dropped out of high school in the 2008-2009 school year. This bill seems to be a manifestation of the desperate need for emphasis of education in the state of Delaware.
In its current form, House Bill 350 does not penalize parents for noncompliance (although one may think a child’s failing grades would be penalty enough) and seems not to have many negative aspects to it. One does wonder if it is the states place to ask parents to raise their children a certain way. Is it possible, in the future, for this seemingly innocuous bill to morph into a strictly enforced guide for parents regarding the raising of their children? Education is, no questions asked, extremely important. This should be emphasized in every home but it remains the parent’s choice, not that of the state. The state does have the right to encourage parents to get involved with their children’s schooling, but not to order them to do so. The bill, in its entirety, may be read here.