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Should parents be blamed when kids fail at school?

May 22, 2011 at 2:29 PM ET

When kids are failing at school, who's to blame?

A number of states are pointing the finger at mom and dad.

Alaska and California recently passed laws allowing parents to be fined or brought up on charges if their children repeatedly miss school for no good reason. And Florida lawmakers are considering a bill that would have teachers give parents a report card.

Lisa Belkin writes for The New York Times:

Teachers are fed up with being blamed for the failures of American education, and legislators are starting to hear them. A spate of bills introduced in various states now takes aim squarely at the parents. If you think you can legislate teaching, the notion goes, why not try legislating parenting?

It is a complicated idea, taking on the controversial question of whether parents, teachers or children are most to blame when a child fails to learn.

But the thinking goes like this: If you look at schools that “work,” as measured by test scores and graduation rates, they all have involved (overinvolved?) parents, who are on top of their children’s homework, in contact with their children’s teachers, and invested in their children’s futures. So just require the same of parents in schools that don’t work, and the problem is solved (or, at least, dented), right?

Click here to read the full article. What do you think? Should parents be held legally accountable for what their children do -- or don't do -- in school? Or is education the school's job? Do you think you're involved enough -- or too much -- in your child's education? Vote in our poll, and tell us what you think in the comments.

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