Rep. Miller Introduces Bill to Help Parents Attend Parent-Teacher Conferences
JUNEAU – Today, Representative Bob Miller (D-Fairbanks) introduced legislation to make it easier for parents to attend parent-teacher conferences so they can stay involved in their children’s education. The bill (HB 315) would allow parents to take up to four hours a year of unpaid leave to attend parent-teacher conferences without having to worry about losing their job.
“No one should have to choose between keeping their job and getting involved in their children’s education,” said Rep. Miller. “The more we can help parents get involved and stay involved, the more likely their children are to succeed in school and in life.”
Parent-teacher conferences allow for parents to learn first-hand how their child is performing in class and to receive advice on how to better prepare for the school day. Conferences are also important for the teacher—they are able to develop relationships with parents that better readies them to instruct their classrooms. Currently, Alaskans are not guaranteed time off for parent teacher conferences. Since they usually take place during the work day, many parents are not able to make them, and their children’s education suffers.
“Parent-teacher conferences almost always come during the work day for parents working long hours or two jobs,” said Rep. Miller. “These hard-working Alaskans need to know they can’t be fired for taking a couple hours to get involved with their children’s education.”
HB 315 will add parent-teacher conferences to the state’s laws that add to the federal Family and Medical Leave act so parents can attend these vital meetings. To protect employers, the bill only requires employers to grant un-paid leave, and the provision will not apply if it creates a risk to human safety or increases an employer’s costs more than a nominal amount.
HB 315 was referred to the House State Affairs, Labor and Commerce and Finance committees.