"Schools," a friend recently observed during a chat about home-schooling, "have a tendency to infantilize parents."
Rational 40-year-old adults, he observed, are more worried about science projects and grades than the kids. Through schedules and activities, parents are slaves to the school.
This is true for all schools, public or private, but the public schools have taken things a step farther. In Philadelphia and elsewhere, the schools are "grading" parents and how they raise their children.
You read that right. Our collectivist schools will "grade" parents.
Laughable as it sounds, the City of Brotherly Love, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer, "is rolling out simplified student report cards this year that will feature a grade certain to get every parent’s attention: rating the u2018home support' given to children…."
"Teachers will assess several areas: Does the child appear rested? Is he or she getting proper attention for vision and hearing problems? Do parents respond to notes and phone calls? Does the child have the necessary supplies, including pencils and notebooks? Does the child complete homework assignments?"
Parents, the schools concluded, need "gentle reminders" to raise children properly, and will receive a "satisfactory" or "needs attention" grade from the busybodies at School Central.
"It's nice that the district is trying a little bit to have parents take some responsibility," one teacher burbled. "It's not just on the teachers. They have to do their part, too."
Somehow, said another, this is "making it easier to get parents involved and stay involved."
Some of us thought "getting parents involved" might be helped, say, by eliminating free breakfast and lunch programs, which would force parents to feed their children. After all, a parent who won't feed his child a plate of eggs in the morning doesn't sound very "involved."
The Real Goal
It's easy to see where this is going. The grade's purpose is to evaluate the parents. If parents get a "needs attention," surely that would invite some ministrations from the teacher, the counselor, the principal, or perhaps the school board.
Maybe just a phone call; maybe a nice note that closes with a smiley face. Sounds harmless enough.
But what if the parents get another "needs attention," then another, or a "report card" on which the entire checklist "needs attention?" What if they simply fail, to use an anathematized word in the modern school house.
Surely, the schools will need the power to intervene with stronger, punitive measures to elevate the grade to "satisfactory." Otherwise, the parent "report card" will be worthless.
Seize The Children
But, of course, the "report card" is worthwhile, at least to the schools, and like mandatory public schooling, its value can be traced to John Dewey, then to Karl Marx and his Communist Manifesto, the creed for the modern state.
The revolution depended on the abolition of private property, religion and the family. The State, he proposed, must give "free education for all children in public schools;" ultimately, the state must raise children. It must erase the bourgeois morals of the propertied class to create Marxist Man.
The government's nefarious attack on private property is relentless, and public schools, aided by courts, have done their level best to extirpate religion. "Social workers" already seize children in screwed-up families.
Now this: Schools grading parents like they grade kids. My friend is right. Schools infantilize parents. But they better pray this mad idea for more intrusive intervention in the home flops, or the "unsatisfactory" are in for trouble.
Snatching their children could be next.
October 1, 2003
Syndicated columnist R. Cort Kirkwood [send him mail] is managing editor of the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, Va.