Pa. House bill would make it easier for parents to attend school events | Tuesday Morning Coffee

Research shows kids succeed with increased parental involvement. A Pa. House bill looks to help

By: - January 10, 2023 7:12 am

(Image via Pittsburgh City Paper.)

They’re the stuff of every happy ending in movies or on tv: Proud parents in the stands or in the auditorium seats, cheering on their children as they succeed on stage, in the classroom, or on the athletic field.

But for too many American families, the demands of work and the economy make it hard for parents to be there when their kids need them the most. But a bill sponsored by two Democratic lawmakers from Philadelphia aims to help parents be there when it matters.

On Monday, Reps. Donna Bullock and Elizabeth Fiedler began seeking their colleagues’ support for a bill requiring employers to give eligible parents eight hours of unpaid leave a year to attend school-related activities.

Parents of children living with a disability, or those with an individualized education program would be allowed an additional four hours of leave, the two lawmakers wrote in a memo seeking support for their proposal.

“As legislators, we have an obligation to provide a framework for employers to allow parent-employees the scheduling flexibility to be involved with their children’s education,” Bullock and Fiedler wrote in their memo to their House colleagues.

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Research has repeatedly shown that increased parental involvement leads to better outcomes for students, from higher grades and test scores to more regular school attendance and better social skills.

“Parent involvement motivates children to learn, leading to higher grades,” according to the education website Positive Action.

That level of involvement “is crucial in producing a high impact on the student’s performance. The higher the degree of parental involvement, the higher the impact on the child’s academic achievement,” the group wrote in an October 2021 blog post.

State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Philadelphia, speaks at a news conference at the state Capitol on Monday, 3/29/22 (Capital-Star photo by John L. Micek)
State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Philadelphia, speaks at a news conference at the state Capitol on Monday, 3/29/22 (Capital-Star photo by John L. Micek)

In their memo to their colleagues, Bullock and Fiedler offered a similar sentiment.

“Students with engaged parents or other caregivers earn higher grades and test scores, have better social skills, and show improved behavior,” the two lawmakers wrote. “The connection can make a difference at all age levels and the more intensively involved parents are, the greater the positive impact.”

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.