By: Angelo Caiazzo (Opinion)
School attendance policies have gotten stricter and are forcing parents misdemeanor charges. Parents of students missing 10 days or students who are chronically tardy, regardless of whether or not your student was tardy under the supervision of the school, i.e., late from the cafeteria and disregarding actual time missed on days tardy, be it a total of 10 minutes or 10 hours, will have to explain themselves in court. The justification behind the compulsory law enforcement is to ensure a quality education from missed instruction but this is only a partial truth at best, more likely, it’s a ruse.
If you ask the school, the initial premise for the cracking down on absences stems from the notion that it draws a direct correlation to the quality of education that students receive. However, this is a bad assumption, or a deception to prevent the schools from losing funds, even if it means intimidating parents with legal repercussions. Surely, there have been absences over the years, so much so, that a new policy has been mandated. Yet, graduation rates over the past 5 years have remained constant at 85 to 89 percent. Likewise, some claim that a student who shows up for instruction is in a better position to learn than one who does not, which seems simplistically obvious, but fails to consider the actual material missed, makeup work, nbvc or any supplemental education a student receives at home or elsewhere. If your child has straight A’s but misses 5 days, don’t be amazed to see yourself in front of a truancy board or rather the “Early Intervention Team.” If they miss 10, it’s legal action.
As of tardies being classroom distractions, consider the law dealing with all classroom distractions and how the courtroom would be overrun with parents whose children repeatedly cause distractions in class; bullies, pranksters, class clowns, a child who spoke out without being called on and especially parents of younger children who have yet to conform to societal expectations, let alone the school’s would assumingly have the same guilt, no? Why don’t they? Easy. They’re at school.
The state no longer funds schools according to the number of students enrolled. Instead, the state has begun auditing school attendance records, providing funding through a formula based on the number of minutes your child spends in class each day, or exact Average Daily Attendance. With this method, each child attending a full day of school is worth approximately $54.53 to the school district. Certainly, a good education can be expensive and, undoubtedly, the burden of financial responsibility ought to be the town’s, whose children benefit from that education. However, policing parents and prosecuting them with criminal charges to ensure maximum state funding seems like misuse of power, both on the state and local level. Just like organized crime, the kingpin, state, pays out funding in exchange for awareness campaigns/programs, corporate ‘partnerships,’ or some other politically incentivized policy. The pushers, school districts, push these policies and ideologies onto the community and if you, as a parent or student, don’t conform to them, you’ll face the enforcers — the DA and local law enforcement — if you haven’t already.