Britain: Parents Who Don’t Read to Their Kids Should Be Fined

CryingHedwig Edle von Malheim-Friedländer / Wikimedia Commons

Britain's Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has announced that he would like schools to be allowed to fine parents who, among other academic crimes, don't read to their children. Parents who neglected their children's homework or school events should also be punished, he said.

As he told the London Times: 

Parents should be fined if they miss parents’ evenings, fail to read with their children or allow homework to go undone, the chief inspector of schools said.

"Headteachers should have the power to fine them. It’s sending the message that you are responsible for your children no matter how poor you are."

free-range-kidsActually it seems to be sending the message that the state is responsible for the children, and it's responsible for the parents, and it's responsible for enforcing read alouds in their homes.

As a gal who somehow grew up literate despite a mom and dad who loved to read, but not to me, I wonder if Sir Wilshaw would agree to have me come in and decide how to raise his children or grandkid so they could grow up to be professional writers like me. Talk about bookish!

And if he doesn't accept that, well, perhaps he should pay me a small fine.

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  • Pro Libertate||

    How primitive of the British to allow parents to have any role in raising their children. Why not seize the kids at birth and educate them in camps? With, of course, mandatory holiday cards at year end to foster a good relationship with the people with whom the child is accidentally related.

  • SusanM||

    Run that idea by whoever runs Butlin's these days and it's bound to become law soon.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I will. I'm writing a memo right now.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "Bloody hell, why won't these chess pieces move where I want them?"

  • Raven Nation||

    OT: we can all relax. Voyager 1 has, definitely, for sure, indeed, entered interstellar space:

  • From the Tundra||

    Love nerd blogs. First comment:

    Matthew K. Tatuś · Top Commenter · Music Director/Organist at Grace Presbyterian Church Little Rock
    Ok, this article raises a few questions for me:

    The claim is that plasma density is greater in interstellar space than in the solar system. What is the mechanism that "thins out" plasma in the solar system while preventing interstellar plasma from spreading inwards? I'm guessing the sun's magnetic fields, but the article doesn't say.

    Also, the article implies that a large portion of the Oort Cloud lies outside the solar system. Are then the objects (comets, minor planets, etc.) in the Oort Cloud not considered part of the solar system?

    Look out for those Music Director/Organists. Always trying to stir the intersteller pot.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    This is always on topic. Just like it's always leaving again. We might as well say that Voyager leaves the solar system every time HnR has a picture with no alt-text.

  • Pro Libertate||

    The article says that "some say" that the solar system extends out further to the edge of the Oort Cloud. I'm not being pedantic here--it's total nonsense to define the fucking solar system as excluding a great deal of mass in orbit about the sun.

    You know, maybe Pluto is a planet.

  • SugarFree||

    You know, maybe Pluto is a planet.

    The science on Pluto was settled until it wasn't.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Very well. I hereby declare, based on my authority as a an object orbiting Sol, that Pluto is a planet.

  • MegaloMonocle||

    I'm an object orbiting Sol. Am I a planet?

  • Pro Libertate||

    If you pay the licensing fee, yes.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    But by some measures, Voyager 1 remains inside the solar system

    You know, technically speaking, you and I were just referenced in that article (or perhaps more accurately, the work we have done, developing a measure of the solar system, was cited). I wonder if we should count this as a citation.

  • Pro Libertate||


    Libertate, Pro, Demonocles, Auric (July 2014). "Die wahre Rand des Sonnensystems." Hit & Run, various issues.

  • Volren||

    I prefer my parents' system better. They just taught me to read and then let me at it.

  • UnCivilServant||

    How about the right to fine headmasters and teachers who fail to do their jobs to our satisfaction? 1/15th of their salary per dissatisfied family.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    The modern UK is worse than the Soviet Union.

  • ||

    The British are naturally good at queuing, so there's that.

    Arthur: OK. Leave this to me. I'm British. I know how to queue.
  • The Last American Hero||

    I don't know about that, but what happened to that once great and proud nation?

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Where's the British space program, huh? The Ruskies at least orbited the earth. They also invented a silent nuclear submarine completely undetectable by sonar until we stole it. (That last bit might be fiction).

  • Raven Nation||

    I think the Brits have a space program. But Q won't let James take it public.

  • ||

    They have one, it's just incredibly dull.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, you're forgetting about S.H.A.D.O. Granted, it's run by Ed Straker, who is an American, but it's based in London.

  • ||

    I was -12 when UFO was on the air.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's the 70s all wrapped up in purple hair and go-go boots. And they have mesh for you, too.

  • ||

    Mesh, you say? Well, I'm intrigued.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Do a Google search for U.F.O. images.

  • ||

    I did. It looked more lady impressive than guy impressive, but that's the '70s for you.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, yes, but they did have hairy men in mesh shirts for you. And green alien men.

  • ||

    Hmm, not on Amazon Prime. I'll research further when I'm not on a work computer.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, Amazon needs to get with whoever owns ITC's rights these days.

  • Raven Nation||

    I assume there is nothing in the British budget that can be cut either.

    Especially since the Brits also give 300m Euros p.a. to the ESA.

  • ||

    I don't know about that, but what happened to that once great and proud nation?

    "Envy the country that has heroes, huh? I say pity the country that needs them."

    A shining moment in an otherwise totally forgettable movie.

  • Ron||

    you must read to your children but you will not be allowed to read a bible to them and any other items we may find offensive to out beliefs.

  • creech||

    "And if he doesn't accept that, well, perhaps he should pay me a small fine"

    You forget; he is a Top. Man. and you aren't.

  • lap83||

    "As long as you're living under OUR social contract..."

    "I don't CARE if Johnny's government lets him go to bed without a bedtime story"

    "Just wait until your daddy state comes home"

  • paranoid android||

    I think if I were a parent in Britain I'd start by reading the tots Brave New World.

  • Swiss Servator, Alles Klar||

    Fuck off, British slaver.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    That's what Shaka Zulu said.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Those are nice lampposts they have in London, but they need some decoration. Maybe the education ministry can furnish some?

  • Karl B.||

    It might help if they didn't send kids home completely burned out from having to sit still all day, with hours of homework, leaving them with maybe 90 minutes to play and just be a kid before bed, at which point the last thing they want to see is another book.


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