Every Tuesday I volunteer in Annabel’s classroom. This generally entails running around the room answering kids’ questions, helping with crafts, or manning a learning center. Annabel is always super-excited to have me there, and I love being able to see her in her element with her classmates. I’m very thankful to be in a position where I can volunteer there, especially since I know not every parent is able to get into the classroom so easily.
Sometimes we decorate cookies, too.
Right now in California there is a proposed bill that would require employers to give parents of K—8th graders three paid days off each year to participate in school-related activities. As is usually the case with these kinds of bills, there are people who are strongly for and against the idea.
Proponents of the bill point to studies that show that parents who are more engaged in their kids’ education have children who perform better in school and have less disciplinary problems. Low-income parents — those who make less than $30,000 per year — are (statistically speaking) the least-engaged in their kids’ schools, citing a lack of time and conflicting work schedules as the reasons they aren’t more involved. Presently, employees are required to give parents five unpaid days off to participate in school-related activities, but lower-income parents are the least able to take the hit of an unpaid day off to help out. This bill would allow them to be present at school without worrying that doing so might keep them from paying their bills.
On the other side, critics worry about how much money this will cost businesses. The assemblyman who proposed the bill says that small businesses will be exempt, but it’s still unknown how much this bill will affect other business’s bottom line.
Personally, I like the bill because I’m here for anything that allows parents to be more involved in their kids’ education. I am incredibly privileged to have the flexibility to be able to volunteer at Annabel’s school, and I would love for all parents to be able to experience this in some way. Of course, I’m no economist or politician so I don’t know just how much of a negative fiscal impact the bill could have, but on the surface of things I see a lot of good potentially coming out of the bill — especially since helping lower-income kids to do better in school will have a positive impact on California’s economy in the long run.
Plus, I’m in favor of anything that will help our teachers out a little more…I’m in the classroom for an hour a week and I’m exhausted! Teachers are superheroes.