Just a note about the "absent parent": I grew up with parents who felt school was MY JOB and they made a point to have NOTHING to do with it. They refused to sign forms, didn't pay for field trips, nor did they ever attend conferences or back to school night. The only time I recall my mother entering the school was to retrieve my brother who fell and got a cut that needed stitches.
If THAT is the type of parent a child has, your Fix could cause serious problems:
"Appeal to the child, especially older children, and put the responsibility on them. I never accept, “Mom wouldn’t sign . . . ” I always tell the child to go to the parent with pen in hand. Offer small incentives for returned forms. Most students will pester their parent for a signature if they get something out of it too."
Had I "pestered my parents" there likely would have been another hole in the wall the size of me (to match the one already there the size of my older brother.) By 4th grade I realized I had to get my older sister to forge signatures and secretly pay for field trips with gift money from relatives.
True story, but I still grew up to be a high honors student who went to a selective college. I am now a teacher who is very sensitive to the type of home life a child might have.
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