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.
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.”