I agree that the parents need to feel the burden of the education of their children. However, parents will only begin to take their responsibility seriously when they are actually paying for the education not just signing a piece of paper.
A huge portion of the discipline and apathy problems that exist in public schools today are the direct result of the shift in responsibility for education from the parents to the schools.(snip)
Parents should be required to sign a contract each year when registering their children for classes. This contract would stipulate that public schooling is a privilege and is available to each child so long as the child behaves properly, engages in school activities, and actively pursues his education.
The way school is currently funded does not allow for the parent to actually see how much money they are spending on their children's education. If a contract is to be included in public education as Freedomblogger suggests, it should be with the ability to write out the check. To take the money first and then require a secondary contract is flawed.
None of us would agree to first pay for a car and then only after the check is written be informed of what kind of car we purchased. And if we don't like the model we are given too bad. The money is now gone and we must shop around for another car. If we don't purchase our cars that way why would we treat something as important as our children's education that way.
The government has limited resources, and those resources must be used wisely. If students and parents fail to meet their contractual obligations, then they should not be allowed to partake of the publicly-funded school system.
I agree that parents must take responsibility but you can't have it both ways. You can't call education a privilege and then require parents to pay for it before we even see what we are buying. If the educational establishment is serious about parental involvement then let's bring the checkbook back into the equation. This will not only help hold the parents and students accountable but the government as well. Parents have limited resources as well and what recourse do I, as a parent, have if the "publicly-funded school system" fails to meet its obligation. After all, even a car comes with a one year warranty against manufacturers defects.
(Thanks to Edwonk for Education Carnival #4 that has provided excellent reading and the original link source for this article.)
(For additional reading see: Someone Finally Gets It )