Morgan: Ban inactive parents from graduation tickets
by Hannah Morgan
January 16, 2014 12:06 AM | 4342 views | 18 18 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — School board member David Morgan is proposing withholding certain privileges, including graduation ceremony tickets, from parents in south Cobb who do not actively participate in their children’s education.

At a board work session Wednesday, Morgan presented a list of six ideas he had for improving education in his post in south Cobb.

Morgan said the majority of parents in his district were selective in the extracurricular events they chose to participate in, and wanted a way to ensure parents were involved in all aspects of their children’s school lives.

Parents were often at Friday night football games and graduation ceremonies, but were, for the most part, absent from parent-teacher conferences.

“We need to have parent accountability. If you don’t do it, bad things happen,” he said. “If parents don’t participate and get involved, they won’t get extra graduation tickets.”

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said the idea made him “uncomfortable.”

It wasn’t the board’s place to force parents to do certain things, he argued.

Morgan disagreed.

The demographics in south Cobb were different than in other parts of the district, and Morgan said his solution for parent involvement in his district didn’t necessarily have to apply to schools in other posts.

“How do we deliver education differently to a different demographic?” he asked.

Chairwoman Kathleen Angelucci didn’t think Morgan’s idea would work.

She said she had seen similar initiatives backfire while her own children were in school, and had learned it was more effective for school administrators to inspire parents to participate, rather than require them to.

“You cannot force parents to do certain things. It’s their choice,” she said.

Board member Brad Wheeler asked how schools would be able to keep track of what parents were involved in what activity, adding, “This would be a logistical nightmare.”

Wheeler asked, “Is this legal?”

Board member Tim Stultz proposed Morgan work with church leaders and community leaders in south Cobb to encourage parents to get more involved in school events not only on the weekends.

“We can’t continue to baby people,” Morgan said.

Vice Chairman Randy Scamihorn proposed Morgan find incentives to get his parents excited to be engaged.

Morgan stuck to his guns.

“That’s the only way we will increase involvement and participation in south Cobb. There have been years and years of seeing the same thing, I feel that’s the only way we are going to see a change,” he said.

Since he had proposed the idea during the work session, seven of his constituents had texted him on his cellphone, he said, encouraging his initiative.

Not all parents were on board with Morgan’s idea.

“With parents working more than one job, you could end up harming a child for a parent trying to feed a family,” said Connie Jackson, the president of the Cobb County Association of Educators.

She has children in Cobb schools, and admitted she has missed parent events a few times because of work obligations.

Susan Tucker, a parent at Mountain View Elementary School, didn’t think Morgan’s initiative would be practical for all Cobb schools.

Education activist Jo Ellen Smith said she agreed with Morgan’s initiative.

“I think it’s a great idea,” she said.

Morgan promised the board he would continue to push for his idea. Bringing it up on Wednesday was “a start.”

Comments
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cobb nanny
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January 17, 2014
what about folks who have 3-4 kids, all in different schools, this idea would place a hardship on them as msot times it is a single mom working 2 jobs to make ends meet & support her kids. Mr Morgan would have as much luck with this idea as he would requiring the parents in his district to be married parents rather than baby mamas & daddys
Zoolander
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January 17, 2014
I attended a Cobb Schools graduation once. What a zoo, never again.

The behavior of those in attendance made the Honey Boo-Boo family look like aristocrats.
Lib in Cobb
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January 17, 2014
What would Morgan do about the single parents who are working two jobs who just can't take the time off to participate? OR That single parent is exhausted most of the time and is physically unable to do any more? He is looking to punish those parents or parent because they are trying to survive. Not all schools in Cobb have a population who is upper middle class such as Kemp. There are many schools, like Labelle, where there is little participation from the parents because the parents may not speak English or they are working two or three jobs.

I think Morgan should come up for air and look around at the real world.
Somewhat Agree with
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January 16, 2014
I rarely agree with David Morgan, but I think this idea has some merit. Wheeler is right - it would be a logistic nightmare unless someone organizes it. AND most teachers I know will meet before school hours, after school hours and on the telephone to conference with a parent. There is no excuse for not speaking with your child's teacher. We need to try new ideas for our schools who consistently do not make AYP. While i do not condone punishing these parents - i understand what it's like to work more than one job (as I do) and having a single parent (like I did)0 there needs to be some things that can be done to get parents involved in their children's education. Grant Rivera did some wonderful things when he was at South Cobb HS. Take his lead and see what happens
Coach Brian
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January 16, 2014
Just about every local youth sports program has some sort of requirement that parents have to volunteer some amount of time to the program. Mr. Morgan's idea is worth some discussion.
D.G. in Clarkdale
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January 16, 2014
Sadly this is what happens when leftist loons are elected. Obviously "Comrade" Morgan believes rights and privileges should be handed only to "good little party members. The heavy hand of government needs to be restrained and Morgan should be muzzled.
Monica DeLancy
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January 16, 2014
Being involved in your child's education does not mean just showing up at school. In some cases there are multiple children attending different schools, and activities that take place on the same night. There are youth programs, dance groups, football and basketball, boy scouts, girl scouts. There is a lot of activities, meetings in the community, if we can find a way to collaborate resources, community activities and continue to be persistant then we can see changes.
hargroveohyeah
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January 16, 2014
I can't think of a worse idea. Football games and graduations are scheduled at times when people are normally off of work. There are many parents who have no choice but to work to make ends meet and don't have flexible schedules to go to parent-teacher conferences. That doesn't necessarily mean they're not helping their children at home though. How can he decide who is an active parent and who isn't just by how many come to the conferences. This is a horrible idea. how about scheduling parent-teacher conferences at times when more parents who have to work can come? And have some relevant information for the conference. I can't tell you how many conferences I scheduled time off of work to drive all the way across the county just for the teacher to tell me my child is doing fine. She could have told me that in an email or on the phone. Why always jump to making it the parents' fault.
phat tony
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January 16, 2014
Are you serious?? Why always jump to making it the parents fault?????? Uhhhhh- They are YOUR children!!! Making parents responsible for their child's education will not only help their recieve a better education, help them go on to college, will help make the kids better citizens, better people, and will directly influence the vitality of our community! Make parents accountable for their childs education- Those parents unwilling to work with their offspring don't deserve to be parents at all. Yes, we all have jobs, we all make sacrifices. No one said life is easy, and no one said life is fair. Holding parents responsible is the RIGHT thing to do!
Mike Woodliff
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January 16, 2014
If I remember correctly, isn't this a founding principle in Charter Schools? I believe parents are required by contract to volunteer a specified amount of time each term.
Commend Morgan
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January 16, 2014
This is the first time I have ever agreed with Mr.Morgan. How do we make parents accountable? The teachers continue to be blamed for children failing but education begins in the home. Someone come up with a solution to make parents accountable! We need to have a tracking record from the time the child starts school. On their record, we should be able to show how many things they have attended from conferences to curriculum nights. The schools make you sign in, so it wouldn't be difficult.
whackojoellen
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January 16, 2014
Who cares what this Joellen thinks, she is as crazy as Morgan for agreeing with his ideas. The voters in Cobb figured her out when she ran for whatever election she ran in. She is as out of touch as Morgan, doesn't matter if she has kids in Cobb schools either. Who at the MDJ keeps insisting on articles quoting her? Get some new sources.
Lisa A
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January 16, 2014
I support Mr. Morgan's initiative. I believe that the education of our students should be approached as a partnership between teachers and parents. Being involved doesn't always require physical presence at the school, you can assist a teacher from your home by assembling packets for the classroom. No school can become great without active support from its parents. Be it mom, dad, grandparent, aunt, or some other representative...every family should be required to, and want to, be involved. Teachers and principals must do what they can to accommodate the schedules of working parents so that they can attend conferences; and surely every family can attend a few PTA meetings over the course of a year. We set expectations for the students - why not for the parents as well?
CCSD parent
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January 16, 2014
Love the idea, Mr. Morgan, but I agree with those who say it would be tough to implement. I am a bit fed up with those who do not want to parent, along with those who take the stance that the vast majority of the non-involved are so busy working that they can not support the educational process of their children. In my experience as a parent at a school in the area noted, it is a lack of "want to" that is the root of the non-involved, not ability.

After this problem is taken on, how about we move next to address the issue of how we qualify families for free and reduced lunch? My children are befuddled that many of their classmates confess to being in the program, then see them use their brand-new iPhone to call their parents for pick up and Mom or Dad arrives driving a high-end foreign vehicle. There's really no good explanation I can give to them about how we now define "need" in our society...it ends up being a discussion about playing the system.
Government to blame
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January 16, 2014
The government is to blame for all of this. They encourage people, who can not afford to have children, to have babies by paying for the whole bill through Medicaid. Then, they give that parent WIC which provides food until the child is 4 years old. After that, they apply for free pre-k which has free food. Last, the parents apply for free breakfast and lunch at the taxpayers expense. It is those same parents that don't have time to help educate their children. ANYONE can fill out an application for free breakfast and lunch. The application explains how much you can make to qualify, and there is no way to check if it is true. Thus, the government and bleeding hearts need to stop!
At last
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January 16, 2014
Finally someone is trying to address the problem of lack of parenting contributing to the low test scores and drop out rates. And no one wants to listen! Isn't that just he way? Sad when someone tries to have a leadership role in improving the future outlook of students and folks just turn their backs.
RU4 REAL
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January 16, 2014
Surely Mr. Morgan can come up with a better suggestion than this. And I question the intelligence and reasoning of his constituents that support this "logistical nightmare.” Put the student's interests first and quit trying to force parents to do something they have never done before.
anonymous
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January 16, 2014
Suggesting parental involvement and accountability is in the interest of the students. Schools and students thrive holistically. The interests of those who cite logistics as a reason to be against implementation, but yet offer no alternative solutions, is what should be questioned. It would be difficult, but I think the very notion that it could be enforced would bring about an increased level of parent participation. Unpopular as it may be, change is necessary when doing the same old thing just isn't working. I am a South Cobb parent who is involved. The school staff is appreciative; and my daughter is proud of it and flourishing in all aspects.
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