Meet with child's teacher or go to jail?

June 14, 2010 at 2:25 PM
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DETROIT, June 14 (UPI) -- A Michigan prosecutor says she wants to make it against the law for parents to skip parent-teacher conferences at their children's schools.

Wayne Country Prosecutor Kym Worthy admits the idea will be a tough sell, but says she's so worried about truancy and juvenile crime she wants parents to attend at least one conference a year or go to jail, The Detroit News reported Monday.

"If they come (to the conferences), they will be more (engaged) in their children's education," Worthy said. "There is a link between truancy and parental involvement."

A Detroit Public Schools spokesman said he hasn't seen the specifics of the proposal but called the issue of parental involvement an "emergency."

The situation needs to be addressed with "some amount of persuasion," spokesman Steven Wasko said, "likely some incentives and possibly even some requirements."

One expert says he has his doubts.

"Parental involvement in education is desirable, but there's hardly any benefit from government coercion," said Farr Jahr, senior director of communications for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

"Are kids going to be better off if they have a parent in jail?" he asked.

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