Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Truancy; APS' plan

In any model that requires students to be in school everyday, truancy is a big issue.

Not only do truants miss that day's learning; they are expected to continue at the same pace as if they had been there and learned it all.

It may resonate as punishment fitting crime, but the truth is; those kids just keep falling further and further behind until they finally drop out of school altogether.

If school were fun and interesting, there would be no truancy to speak of.

Standing in opposition to addressing truancy by making school fun and interesting as it can be prudently made, those who argue;

  • school wasn't fun when I went, why should it be fun now?
  • it's good for kids to suffer through things they don't want to do.  It toughens them up.
Other than that, there really is no good reason that learning could not be made as fun and interesting as it can be made without losing sight of the mission.

The current mission;
standardize the individual performance among groups of kids with almost nothing in common but their age and the school they attend.  This by forming them into thought choirs; thinking and learning in unison; each on the same page in the same book on the same day preparing to take the same test at the same time.

I propose a new mission;  
Create individual lifelong learners at the earliest opportunity.

Allow them to learn as fast as they can or as slowly as they need.  Test them when it serves their interests instead of serving the interests of people who sell standardized tests, testing and textbooks.

APS' solution to truancy; link; conduct a bunch of exercises designed to make participants feel like they have participated meaningfully in decision making.  In fact, their "input will be gathered" and they will make no decisions at all.  The decision making needle will not move unless they hear something they didn't know already and happen to agree with it.

After they decide, they will announce what they have decided, and they will thank all participants for their invaluable input.

They will not decide to move away from cemetery seating, standardized tests and testing, and their over reliance on textbooks that students cannot read well enough to use.

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