Monday, January 30, 2012

There is more to learning than attendance

written by: Scott Jurgensmeier

The single-minded focus on “excessive absenteeism” would seem to fly in the face of every other issue that we discuss with relation to education. We are told that we need qualified teachers or students won’t learn. We are told that we need clean buildings that are in good repair or children won’t learn. We are told that schools need to be safe; if kids do not feel safe they will not learn. We debate what curriculum and what level of technology we should have to insure children can learn. We discuss proper class size with the thought that if classes are too large children won’t learn. We provide discounted or free lunches and/or breakfasts to kids, as hungry kids won’t learn.

I am not arguing against any of the above items. I am merely pointing out that it would seem that kids actually have some part in whether education is going to be successful. There is more to learning that being at a certain building for a prescribed period of time. My daughter broke her arm once and she missed time from school. I could have forced her to go to school in those first few days, but as she cried in pain all day she would not have learned anything much and would have distracted from the education of other children and the work of the teacher.

If a child feels harassed by CPS workers and County Attorney’s with the fear they will be taken from their family, this could easily impact their ability to learn.

More over the final level of this law is actually separating children from their parents. The position of this law is that by taking my child from home she would learn better. In the real world, if the Court took my young daughter from her family she would not be thinking about Math. She would be thinking about home and family. Being placed in Foster Care would actually be more likely to inhibit her learning for a longer period of time than missing 20 days in a school year.

A child needs to be in a safe, clean building, with plenty of food, good teachers, modern technology and small class sizes to learn. But we are to believe that missing their family and not understanding why they can’t go home will have no impact on educational achievement.

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