Free-Range Kids

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

Parents who neglected their children's homework or school events should also be punished, he said.

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Crying
Hedwig 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."

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Actually 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.