chronic is four

Wichita schools redefine, fight ‘chronic absenteeism’ | Wichita Eagle:
"Parents, a quick quiz:

How many school days would your child have to miss during a nine-week grading period to be considered “chronically absent”?

Ten? Twelve? Fifteen?

Try four.

Armed with a growing collection of data that shows test scores drop as absences rise, Wichita schools have redefined “chronic absenteeism” and are launching new strategies to make sure kids get to school and stay through the final bell.

“Every day’s lesson builds upon the previous day. So when you miss a half-day or even an hour, you’re missing a huge chunk of information,” said Lisa Lutz, executive director of innovation and evaluation for the Wichita school district."
and this too:
"Unlike truancy, which relates to unexcused absences, chronic absenteeism includes parent-excused absences such as those for dental appointments, family commitments and vacations. It does not include in-school suspensions or missed class time for school-sponsored activities."
The family can't win: prosecuted if they allow an unhappy child to have time off, schools create large family tensions and stress. Schools police the parents so the parents will police the child. And neither the child nor the parent have a voice in much of anything. Parental involvement is legislated out of existence. And it is always the parents who are the bad guys: parents cause almost every social ill we can name. Parents are the reason our economic system, schools systems, and prison systems don't work better. It's parents who don't provide good material for these institutions to process.

From the activist teachers at Cooperative Catalyst:

The Real Reason Kids Are Missing From School (

If it were my survey in my community, I would add the following options:
  • Quit treating student absences as a criminal act and assuming that the state knows better than the parents how to raise a child. Quit criminalizing the victims of social injustice and help parents instead.
  • Provide better jobs for parents (many of our students move frequently because they live transient lives)
  • Provide a pathway to legal citizenship for immigrant families (families are fleeing to and from states out of fear of deportation, despite working hard and providing for their families)
  • Daycare for parents with young children or a living wage so that families can live off of one income (many of our students miss school to watch younger siblings)
  • Universal healthcare (many of our students miss school because they are not getting the preventative care that they need.)
I blog about how the family is systematically excluded from any role at all in so-called public schools because of compulsory attendance laws that have been stretched past any possible use. These laws have helped preserve the factory approach of schooling and have worked to exclude the people who would bring the greatest counterweight to bear on an institution that has no structural limits on what it can impose on a child or what can be devised. The so-called educated manufacture ignorance and dumb-down books into curricula to remain employed.

We can learn to structure schools as social services for families instead of against them. We can make institutions that support families and children and in doing so, make them truly social and sustainable. We can move past the factory model and toward a cooperative model. We can have every single parent deeply involved if we really want to, make no mistake about it. And while fixing everything else sounds good, individual families can make significant adjustments if they are allowed control from health issues to bullying to academics, all can be improved, one by one, if families have control.

blaming families, juvenile justice edition
bullying families and children
every parent should have real choices
undermining the family and the child
blaming parents, blaming the family

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