Time off for parents to attend school conferences aim of Liias-sponsored bill

Rep. Marko Liias (D-Edmonds) has introduced legislation aimed at ensuring that parents can get time off for teacher conferences.

“On the issue of parent involvement, the data is absolutely clear,” Liias said. “Increased parent involvement directly translates into student achievement.”

Under the legislation, House Bill 1164, a parent would be entitled to four hours of unpaid leave from work every 12 months.  A similar bill was introduced last session and passed the House. In a news release issued by his office, Liias said he is optimistic that the Legislature will approve it so that parents will be guaranteed leave for the next school year.

“Many of the jobs that folks have today, especially during the recession, don’t necessarily provide the benefits parents need to make a parent-teacher conference,” Liias said.  “As we consider more budget cuts to education, the least we can do is ensure an active parent has the opportunity to be involved and support their child’s education.”

Nine states have already adopted this policy, with some providing more hours of leave to attend education appointments. The state’s Parent Teacher Association and teachers also spoke in favor of passing the bill.

The bill received a hearing last week and must be approved by the Labor and Workforce committee before the Feb. 23 cutoff day.

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