Educators exasperated by the need for greater parent involvement have persuaded Tennessee lawmakers to sign off on a novel bit of arm-twisting: Asking parents to grade themselves on report cards.
Another Tennessee measure signed into law recently will create parent contracts that give them step-by-step guidelines for pitching in. The report card bill — which would initially apply to two struggling schools — passed the Legislature, and the governor has said he is likely to sign it. Participation in the programs is voluntary.
Only a few states have passed laws creating evaluations or contracts that put helping with homework or attending teacher conferences into writing. Tennessee is the only one so far to do report cards, though Utah has parents fill out an online survey and Louisiana is also considering parent report cards.