Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Schools to Grade Parents?

Last Thursday, CNN reported that a Florida legislator has proposed a bill that would have public school teachers issuing a grade to parents. Yes, grading the parents. HB 255 provides that “each prekindergarten through grade 3 student report card shall include a section in which the teacher grades the parental involvement as satisfactory, needs improvement, or unsatisfactory…” based on criteria set by the bill.

The whole idea of setting up public schools as overseers of parents is one more sign that American parental rights are in danger. Parents should not have to answer to government agents unless and until there is solid evidence of abuse or neglect on the part of that parent. Giving a grade to every parent clearly violates this constitutional principle.

In fact, this bill would espouse the same foundational principle as the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child: assume that all parents are bad parents, and that only government oversight can save our children from parental incompetence.

Totalitarian regimes are built on assumed guilt; the nanny state determines which citizens do or do not require their “services.” Florida’s bill would establish a system to do the same. A free nation, on the other hand, operates on the assumption of innocence until proven guilty. Parents do not need government intervention (interference) unless there is proof to the contrary. The Supreme Court has held that “historically, [the law] has recognized that natural bonds of affection lead parents to act in the best interest of their children.” Parham v. J.R., 442 U.S. 584 (1979) Sadly, Florida’s proposed bill recognizes no such thing.

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