A children’s committee bill to promote parent engagement in a child’s education has drawn support from education advocates and criticism from the business community. H.B. 6501 would allow employees who have custody of a student in grades K-12 up to 20 hours of parental leave each year to attend ‘school related activities,’ like parent-teacher conferences, back to school night, or school board meetings.
Studies have shown positive association between level of parent involvement and students’ achievement, also finding that students whose parents are engaged are more likely to have better social skills and reach higher levels of education.
“Early childhood education programs…have demonstrated significant short and long-term benefits for children all have intensive family involvement components,” said Marne Usher, Connecticut Parent Teacher Student Association Vice President of Government Relations in testimony to the state legislature’s children’s committee earlier this month. Usher also said that “schools would have to spend $1,000 more per pupil to reap the same gains in student achievement that an involved parent brings.”
Wendy Lecker, of Parents Across America-CT also submitted testimony on the bill, arguing that “Many parents and guardians can simply not get the time off from work to fully engage in their children’s education.”
But Eric Gjede, assistant counsel at the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA), argued that while parental engagement is important, this measure is not the best way to accomplish that. He said the bill “disregards the staffing needs of employers and conflicts with their policies for requesting and approving time off that were implemented to provide fairness amongst all employees.”