Today’s guest blogger, Deidra Hewitt, lives in Denver, North Carolina, where she has two children in a public elementary school. A stay-at-home mom with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and who took eight Masters classes in Early Childhood Education, she “would prefer that my children’s school stick to educating them. I do not feel that my children’s school has to educate me in the art of parenting, or that I should be doing half of my children’s teaching, at home!”
I once wrote about those pesky contracts that teachers expect parents to sign, but I never really noticed how many signatures teachers request, perhaps because elementary school is now a distant memory for me. Deidra gave me something new to think about.
My Children’s Teachers Require My Signature
More than 400 Times a Year
by Deidra Hewitt, Denver, North Carolina
I’d like to know when signatures on pieces of paper became equated to proof of good parenting. My children attend a public elementary school. I am required to provide between 400 and 500 signatures, per child, per year. For all of the chatter about parents being “partners” in their children’s education, and how many times we’re “invited” to “support” our kids in various ways, this is clearly not the case, when the school is requiring, not requesting, my signature.
I was informed this year, that the policy for my 5th grader included punishment for him, if I forgot or refused to sign things like planners, reading logs, and Friday folders. Apparently it doesn’t matter whether I agree with the policies, find them effective for my family, or see specific requests as redundant. Regardless of how involved I am in my child’s school and life, a signature is regarded as proof positive that I’m doing my job. If I don’t want to sign something, then my child will suffer the consequences.
I am treated like an errant student who must prove to the big, all-wise, all-knowing school that I’m aware of my children’s homework, make sure that they read, and look at their completed work. Not to mention the contract that I’m supposed to sign, at the beginning of the year, promising that I’ll do my job to provide a good home environment, and adequate rest for the children!
Of course the school kindly has the teacher sign that he/she will do the job that they’re being paid for, with my tax money. Isn’t that something that I ought to be able to take for granted?
I have worked with the principal to agree not to punish my child, if a signature is missing this year. My son will not face consequences (pulled slips, silent lunch, non-participation in Fun Friday) by not having a parent signature, but I still feel dejected and disappointed with the fact that the policy remains in place, at all. I have no voice in my school, and certainly do NOT feel like a partner with them.