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Cobb BOE votes down parent involvement requirement | News

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Cobb BOE votes down parent involvement requirement

MARIETTA, Ga. -- The Cobb County School Board voted 5-2 against an idea that its supporters believe would help children do better in school -- require parents to be involved with the schools

School Board Member David Morgan proposed making parental involvement a requirement if their children want to participate in extra-curricular activities.

Morgan’s plan would have started with Pebblebrook High School ninth graders in August, and he hoped to expand it from there.

Morgan said one of the best ways to increase student achievement is to increase parental involvement.  He believes his plan would provide parents with an incentive to participate in parent-teacher conferences and also in graduation pathway counseling.  The incentive would simply be that they'd have to be involved, or their children would not be allowed to participate in sports, bands, clubs and other school activities.

And parents could take part in the meetings without actually having to come to the school.

“This can be accomplished either face-to-face, telephone or digitally," Morgan said.  "And I’m hard pressed to find an able-bodied, sane person that cannot have a conversation with their children's educators in one of these three ways.”

But most of the parents who spoke just before the school board voted on Morgan’s plan were against it.

"It harms children," said the father of a Pebblebrook High School student.  "It punishes them for the sins of their parents."

Connie Jackson,with the Cobb County Association of Educators, who represents teachers, said the plan would send a message to students that "your parents don't want to get involved, so we will punish you, too."

Morgan said he doesn't want to punish anyone, simply hold parents accountable.  He pointed out that parents already must meet one requirement before their children can participate in sports, for example -- they must get medical clearance.

"You have to take the physical or you can't play sports," Morgan said.  "Nobody says that's punitive.... Our parents have a standard to meet, they have to pay for their child to take a sports physical.  Now, if they don't do it, the child can't participate in sports.  So why is it when I say the same thing about parent engagement, people are saying some kind of way I'm being unfair?  No, we have a clear standard.  And parents are meeting it.  And I think the same thing will happen with this proposal."

School board members praised Morgan and his goal of greater parental involvement, but said they wanted to find other ways to increase it.  

Morgan said he's been hearing that from educators for years, but "the current paradigm is not working."

In the five to two vote, Board Member Randy Scamihorn joined Morgan in voting for the proposal.



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