Thursday, March 12, 2015

My two cents* on truancy

"two cents", wikilink.

Quite a report this morning in the Journal, link, by reporter Jon Swedien, on truancy in the APS.

Did you know;

"The habitual truancy numbers collected by the state are based on unexcused absences*. Those rates more than double in APS when excused absences are included.

In APS, the percentage of kindergarten students who missed 10 or more days for any reason last year was 37 percent.

That number dropped to 28 percent in the third and fourth grades. But it shot up to 47 percent in the eighth grade, when experts say many students drop out. In high school, 39 to 42 percent of students missed 10 or more days."
*From an educational standpoint, it makes no difference whether an absence is excused or not; there is the same amount of work to be done and ground to make up.  To "collect" only half the truth serves only the interests of those who want to be held accountable for only half the truth.

The system cuts off its nose to spite its face in punishing truancy academically.  The reality is; a student who cuts school one day, will not come back the next day and do twice as much work in order to catch up.  Instead, they fall further behind.

Clearly a student who chooses to cut school has still to learn the material they missed; a hard enough task by itself.  Then we compound their predicament by expecting them "catch up" and if they don't catch up (to an arbitrary standard pace) they enter further learning disadvantaged by the material they have not mastered.

The problem is fundamental.  Same old, same old is a failure. There needs to be open and honest public re-examination of the fundamental assumptions about educating children. 

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