Rahm Emanuel the mayor of Chicago is heavily invested in getting parents and teachers to interact. This is a lofty goal because the more a parent is involved in a child's education, the more successful a child will be. There can be no doubt that Chicago schools are failing their youth. To encourage parent interaction, Emanuel has decided to partner with Walgreens.
Mayor Emanuel and Walgreen Co. CEO Greg Wasson announced today a new public-private partnership that creates a pilot incentive program aimed at encouraging parents to become more involved in their schools and part of new efforts CPS is undertaking to better engage parents across the district. The pilot provides parents with a “Balance Rewards” card with 25,000 points, worth the equivalent of $25 in Walgreens in-store purchases, when they pick up their students’ report cards and participate in parent-teacher conferences during Report Card Pick-Up days. The pilot will begin this fall with 70 schools across the city that have historically struggled to engage parents. (source)There has been much speculation about this plan and a suggestion that this is something parents should be doing automatically. I certainly agree that it is a parents responsibility to engage with teachers but I think this payout plan is not a solution. Families don't work like they did in the 1950's. Chances are both parents are already working outside of the home, if it is a two parent family. In many cases, people are working longer hours and many people don't work the standard 9-5 with weekends off. There are also disabled parents who might find going to a school difficult for various reasons. None of these factors mean that a parent is not engaged with their child or devoted to ensuring that their child receives the best education possible.