Paid to Parent? Only in Chicago!

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has established an interesting relationship with Walgreens. Walgreens drug store will give $25 gift cards to parents at 70 Chicago Public Schools if they come to pick up their child's report card and attend a parent conference. This program is aimed at targeting schools with low parental involvement. The last time I checked, that was part of being a parent. Parents are supposed to come to school to pick up their child's report card.

What's next? Are parents going to be paid if their child comes to school? Yup! They are already being rewarded when their child attends the first day of school. Over the past few years, the CTA gave free rides and the Museum of Science and Industry gave free passes to parents who attended school on the first day. My blog detailing the first day of school attendance rate shows that the incentives don't work. Are they going to be paid if they help their child with homework? This sets a really bad precedent! What will the Mayor and CPS do if parents wage a boycott of report card pick-up day if they are not compensated? I know this sounds crazy but we have seen parents protesting CPS for closing schools that were so bad that the children were not learning. Why are people protesting the closing of an awful school where the children are not learning? They should have been protesting the school that was failing to educate their children. Maybe if they were promised a $25 gift card, then maybe they would have pretended to care about their child's education.

What does receiving a $25 gift card mean to parents? It means that they will be paid for pretending to care about their child's education. It will not make them care. Parents will expect to be compensated for other things that they are "supposed" to do for their children. If the Mayor truly wants parents to care about the education of their children, he needs a different tactic because this one is not a good one. Bribing parents to care about their children will only last as long as the money lasts. If you won't come to school to pick up your child's report card, you don't care, period! If the Mayor wants more parental involvement, he will have to figure out a way to make parents truly care. Good luck with that, Mr. Mayor! Bribes will only make parents pretend to care. Children deserve more than a parent who pretends to care. This program also means that the parents at the other 500 or so schools will be asking about their gift cards.

Why are we paying people to be and act like parents? Let's be real, a lot of societal problems can be greatly reduced if parents would actually behave like parents. Social workers, counselors, our justice system and the prison system could be greatly reduced if parents actually parent their children. Parenting is a responsibility that you take on when you produce a child. Mothers and fathers are responsible for raising their children. It's not a job that you are paid to do. For many parents it's probably the most thankless job you will ever have, but you do it and you do it well because you love your child.

November is National Adoption Month. There are people who would love to give your child a loving and stable home. They are even willing to show up on report card pick-up day and attend the parent, teacher conference without being compensated.


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Looking for some family fun?  Check out the Chicago Toy & Game Fair on November 17th & 18th at Navy Pier!  Visit the website for a discount.

Disclosure: I received a family pass for this advertisement.


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  • Wow, as usual, you are on it. I'm blown away.

  • Jenna, I wish that I was making this up. It's so ridiculous! Where is society going when you pay people to be responsible?

  • I believe in this case, Mayor Rahm had good intentions, even though is was a lousy idea to pay parents to speak with their children's teacher and to pick up a copy of their report cards.

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