New Attendance Policy at DD's school - no more family trips during school!

Discussion in 'Disney for Families' started by StitchandPooh'sMom, Aug 31, 2007.

  1. StitchandPooh'sMom

    StitchandPooh'sMom <font color=magenta>Now if only I could think of s

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    I went to DD8's curriculum meeting at school last night, and the principal broke the bad news. The school social worker will be notified if any child misses two days of school unexcused. After four days of unexcused absences, parents will be notified of the violation of the General Compulsory School Attendance Law (or something like that). After five unexcused days, Juvenile Court will be notified! Family trips are unexcused, and there is no provision for "excused for educational purposes".

    Well, I had to fess up to the principal that DD is going to miss two days for our Wonder Cruise in October, but it is paid in full and was booked before the change. She understood and probably won't send me to jail! :rotfl2:

    I learned that DD's school, which is an Honor School of Excellence with High Growth (highest category in NC public schools) almost missed its Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goal for attendance, even though 95% of the students showed proficiency at grade level. They made the attendance standard by 0.1% and would have been considered a "failing school" if they had missed AYP. It was a big wake-up call to the administration, and they are cracking down on all the trips to Disney World! Our principal did say that one fifth grader had 26 unexcused absences last year - that is a lot!

    I had read posts from teachers about the difficulty of meeting some of the No Child Left Behind standards, and now I understand. It makes me feel guilty that we have contributed to the problem since we love our school and are very proud of its rating. Good thing we are going to WDW for spring break, but I think we are done pulling our kids out of school. I had never given it much thought since DD's teachers always supported her trips and she always kept up with her work.

    I didn't post to start a debate about the merits of family trips - it was just an eye-opening experience for me last night and I didn't understand the separate emphasis on attendance if the kids were performing. Now I know, and I thought it was all very interesting!
     
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  3. ppan77

    ppan77 DIS Veteran

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    I taught 3rd grade for 5 yrs before I chose to stay home w/ 2yr ds. I know the pressures of NCLB. A perfectly normal well to do school can be considered "failing or not meeting ayp" bc of poor attendance. Usually due to vacationing middle class families and a bad outbreak of the flu a school can be at risk. I wouldnt sweat your trip too much ...just monitor your days a little more than before.. I would still take trips ...just not when your child has to miss more than 2 days...
     
  4. bzzymom

    bzzymom DIS Veteran

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    Personally, I don't think it has anything to do with no child left behind. It is all about money. School districts loose money when children aren't in school. That's the bottom line. I am fortunate to send DS to a private school where it isn't a problem since their budget isn't based on a certain attendance per day.
     
  5. Princess_Michelle

    Princess_Michelle DIS Veteran

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    I can't understand why Social Workers will be bogged down doing this type of bull crap work when there are thousands of children in the ghetto who aren't fed dinner and have to live in houses that are hang out spots for drug dealers and crackheads......Yet, ANOTHER reason why I'll be homeschooling. :confused3

    Sorry, didn't mean to come off crazy, this stuff just grates on my nerves.....
     
  6. StitchandPooh'sMom

    StitchandPooh'sMom <font color=magenta>Now if only I could think of s

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    It's the school social worker who would become involved, not the county social worker. Although I do agree that even our school social worker has more to worry about than a few days missed for a family trip.
     
  7. cissy

    cissy Yes, I can talk about Disney all day!

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    Just the public school mentality of catering to the lowest common denominator!

    I live in NC, too, and our schools are in a crisis!!! What a crock it is to say that a family cannot take a child on a vacation and miss more than two days! The kid who missed 26 days should fail if he can't do the work. But, oh my! Fail a child??!! Teach a lesson??!!?? Make the parents sit up and take notice of their kid??!!?? No way! That might hurt the kids self esteem.

    No, no. Let's punish everyone to make it all EQUAL for everyone. Because life is equal, right? At work, we all get paid the same, right? Everyone is fast tracked on the same path, right? We all get promoted at the same time to the same positions, right?

    What infuriates me in our school system is that we PAY for this nonsense. I don;t understand why more parents don't fight back. The school system is not all powerful. In Wake County, parents sue the school board all the time. Sometimes they win and sometimes they lose, but some are fighting back. Elect officials who represent you!!! This is your child's education and we all need to demand better schools. More pay for better teachers. AAARRGGGG!

    Whew! That felt good. I have to admit that we send our children to private school. I pay twice. But our system here is so messed up that I would live in a cardboard BOX before I put my kids in the public school. But I pay attention to who is on the School Board. I VOTE!

    We are taking our kids out for a week in December. Granted, they are K and 1st grade, but they do more work in a day than their counterparts in the PS do in 3 days. And their teachers are fine with it. They are excited that we are taking a vacation with the kids to a wonderful place. They are thrilled that I have suggested they each keep a journal (yes, both can read and write). I have a bunch of cool things planned for Epcot as well.

    Sorry to rant but missing two days of school and being threatened with criminal charges!!!! OMG!! What in the he** is happening to our school system. To our freedoms?? It is crazy. Just crazy. And we pay for it!!!

    I gotta go lay down. My head hurts.:confused:
     
  8. StitchandPooh'sMom

    StitchandPooh'sMom <font color=magenta>Now if only I could think of s

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    In our case, it is money and state standards. The teachers receive a bonus if they meet AYP's and achieve high growth, so it is definitely to their financial advantage to make sure kids perform and are in school. I don't have a problem with that - I think teachers make far too little and they should be rewarded for performance. School districts lose money when they don't meet state standards. Having kids not show up for school probably affects that, although in our case, the kids were performing well despite being on trips.

    The AYP goals are a state standard, and schools are ranked according to meeting their goals. It is in none of our best interests for our school to not be ranked highly. Even the people in our neighborhood who choose private schools want our school to be highly ranked - it helps property values as well as how well the community is regarded.

    For those of you who choose private school or homeschooling - that's great if it works for you. I am very proud of our school and have chosen it intentionally, although we can afford private school and there are excellent ones in the area. Our school is one of the two best performing schools in the area - the other is another public school. My post was not intended to pit private schoolers or homeschoolers against those who have chosen public school. You might be fortunate to homeschool or to have your child in a private school. We are extremely fortunate to have the school and community that we do. I just thought is was interesting about the attendance policy change and thought some others who struggle with taking their kids out of school might also be interested. Obviously if you homeschool or are not accountable for attendance in your private school, it wouldn't apply to you.
     
  9. StitchandPooh'sMom

    StitchandPooh'sMom <font color=magenta>Now if only I could think of s

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    Actually, the kid who missed 26 days exceeded state standards for his grade level, as did 95% of the other kids at our school. Can't fail the child for attendance if no policy is in place, which was the case last year. We have taken DD out each year for a week with the blessing of her teacher. She has done a journal since kindergarten as well (yes, she could read and write then too).

    The point was not that the kids were not meeting standards due to absences - it was that the SCHOOL was in danger of not meeting standards. Because unexcused absences count against school attendance and AYP goals, the school doesn't want unexcused absences. I doubt many of the families in our school will stop traveling - they will just call their child in sick every day. The test scores will stay high, the school will meet goals, and everyone will be happy. It's unfortunate we can't get absences excused for educational purposes - it would save the school the stress. Certainly some kids can't afford to miss days, but the absences were not relfected in last year's test scores - the kids still did great!

    I didn't mean to start a debate about how bad public schools are versus private schools. We are thrilled with the education DD receives, as well as the qualifications of the teachers at her school. We have enough friends and family in other parts of NC to understand we are extremely blessed with our school. I just thought it was interesting what was going on behind the scenes - I thought as long as DD was doing well, it was no big deal how much she missed (although she hasn't missed more than five or six days for trips during any one school year). Now I know better!
     
  10. Tissa

    Tissa DIS Veteran

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    We have a strict policy like that but it's really meant for the kids who can never seem to make it to school. It's very sad that some parents do not care or want to be bothered enough to get their kids to school. I took my boys out for a week last year and they didn't call the cops on me.:) but they had perfect attendance up until then and I let everyone know in advance. That was their first and last time to miss school for a vacation. We are just going to take vacations during the summer or spring break from now on.

    ETA: We love our public schools too!
     
  11. brooklynheights

    brooklynheights brroklynheights

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    we are pulling the kids out to go to WDW they will get all their homework ahead of time and we planned the trip after the magic count day thats the day all kids are counted and that is what they base how much the school will get in funding I always thought they got the same but if kids don't show up that day schools loose out some even have prizes etc they hand out that day to those who show up if the teachers have issues with the kids not being there oh well family comes first and taking the trip on their breaks was not an option
     
  12. dunbarfamily

    dunbarfamily I'm a proud homebirthing crunchy mama who loves Wa

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    When I first read the title of this post, I was VERY mad! Before it even came up on my super dee dooper slow internet connection, I had already drafted a response and wondered if I'd come off sounding too "its-non-of-their-darn- business" -ish. But now, after reading some of the comments, I am rethinking it. I still think a lot of it comes down to money (I still remember teachers bribing students with candy if they came to school on the "First Friday" counts). I am still planning on pulling my kindergartener out of school for our trips in September and January.

    I don't agree or disagree with the OP's school's decisions right now since I need to think on it some more, but I do think its a little drastic to involve the courts. It's a family vacation, for Pete's sake. Its not like the kid is missing half the school year because parents are too uncaring to make sure kid gets to school. Sheesh....
     
  13. cissy

    cissy Yes, I can talk about Disney all day!

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    But it does apply to us. I would LOVE to send my child to the public school I PAY FOR, but I won't. And the reality is that many of our highest ranking schools produce kids who can't make it in college. They are taught the test and can't think for themselves.

    The public schools are forcing kids into a cookie cutter mold and it just doesn't work. We have an antiquated system built in the 50's and not much has changed since. It is an agriculturally based school year with a bureaucracy set up half a century ago. It needs a complete overhaul.

    Our country has a massive problem with education. We are behind in almost every subject. We are ranked 23rd in math in the world!! In the seventies we were in the top 5!!! The drop-out rate is TERRIFYING!

    And teachers should not make money based on attendance. Or end of year Federal testing. The truth is that some children should get left behind. Some should fail because they need to.

    Charter schools are flooding into our area and I am glad to see it. Get the government our of the school system and schools WILL get better. It is happening all over the country. The Gates family is proving it, Tiger Woods' school is proving it and many others like it are proving that competition makes schools better. Europe does it that way and so does India.

    The idea that the school can threaten you with criminal action over attendance should send you straight into politics!!! It is really scary:scared:

    So, claim an aunt died or get your doc to write you a note. I would not trust the principal to cover your butt when you go. His salary depends on attendance, too!
     
  14. cissy

    cissy Yes, I can talk about Disney all day!

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    And one more thing...it is not "us against them" where education is concerned. The private schoolers and homeschoolers and public schoolers are all on the same side. The side of our kids.

    I need public schools and homeschools and private schools to all be successful. It benefits our entire country when our kids are educated well. I am NOT against public schools but how they are managed. I want better for all our children. I don't think worse of anyone for sending their kids to PS. Most families don't have a choice. I am angry FOR THEM. Our schools should do better. And parents should demand better.

    In Wake County, we have two School Board positions open this year. They are both unopposed!! We get 7,000 students a year here and they are unopposed. That says it all. I don't enjoy spending a fortune on school. But it makes me crazy that I am more involved in the PS debate than many of my friends whose children attend PS. They don't vote. They don't write their elected officials. It is sad.

    Our officials need to do more and be better. But ultimately, we are our elected officials. We are the government. Each of us.

    And that is all I have to say about that....:flower3:
     
  15. StitchandPooh'sMom

    StitchandPooh'sMom <font color=magenta>Now if only I could think of s

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    I didn't mean to imply anything different if I did. :goodvibes I just didn't want this to turn into a "that's why my kids go to private school" or "that's why I homeschool" discussion, and it appeared to be headed that way.

    While I am not crazy about the new policy and know that my DD would be fine missing a week of school because she would work to catch up, I have a better understanding of why it is the way it is.

    I did tell our principal in the nicest possible way that our October cruise was paid in full and I would completely understand if the school social worker had to be notified, but my DD was going to miss two days of school and I would work with her teacher to keep her caught up in class. I also told her that we wouldn't plan any more trips this year outside of school breaks. Seems like a reasonable compromise given that the trip was planned and paid for prior to the policy being in place.
     
  16. pfp258

    pfp258 Mouseketeer

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    And yet my sixth and eighth grade daughters have to sit through assemblies (missing out on class time!) to listen to the coordinators for the all school magazine drive! And then if they sell enough magazines for the fundraiser they are again taken out of school (for two periods) to get in a limo and go out for lunch. Yet they think I don't have the right to take my children out of school for a family vacation? CRAZY!
     
  17. Schmeck

    Schmeck <font color=blue>Funny thing is now my 17 year old

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    My oldest daughter will be missing school for non-school/non-illness reasons, and I have to fill out a special form at our school. It counts against our school ratings, but I won't lie just to make it easier for the school.

    BTW, just because we're talking home school/private/public school... (and this is nothing personal, I had to learn which one to use with a trick! - and don't ask me desert/dessert. I mess that up 50% of the time)

    It's "school districts lose money" not "loose money", and "loses out", not "looses out". You can lose a loose tooth - that's how I remember which is which.
     
  18. mericletwins

    mericletwins DIS Veteran

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    NCLB is all about money or withholding of money. It is really a crappy piece of legislation.
     
  19. mericletwins

    mericletwins DIS Veteran

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    It is all part of the school social workers job. In our district the school social worker has always been notified after so many absences. Probably not as few as in the OP's school, but that is their job. Now if they were notifying county or state social workers I could see how your nerves could be grated.:)
     
  20. mericletwins

    mericletwins DIS Veteran

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    I agree about this and NCLB only forces more and more schools and teachers to teach to the test.
     
  21. Mom2R&D

    Mom2R&D Mouseketeer

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    The real kicker about NCLB and schools meeting their AYP for attendance is that the board only looks at TWENTY SPECIFIC school days out of the year. Not the whole year--TWENTY. MEASLY. DAYS.

    And this year they're counting attendance from September 4 through October 1 at my oldest DS's school. And guess who has plans for WDW the last week of September?

    I spoke to the interim principal and she told me that she would NOT excuse my son's absences NOR would she allow him to make up his work--he'd receive zeros in every class. :eek:

    I was in severe panic mode. I finally calmed down and pulled the assistant principal aside and asked her what I should do...and another teacher suggested I withdraw my boys for a week and then re-enroll them a week later! INSANITY!

    Fortunately, the interim principal is on her way out and I know the school secretary who said she will make sure his absences are "taken care of". :wizard:

    My other son's school was a little more understanding (his absences will be unexcused but he will be allowed to make up his work) and the secretary said she wouldn't refer me to truancy court. :rolleyes: When I spoke to his teacher he said "Why didn't you lie?!" Well, because I'm trying to do this the RIGHT way! That'll teach me! He told us to go and enjoy ourselves and that he doubted he would assign DS much, if any work.

    My boys usually have stellar attendance and this is the first time we've ever pulled them out of school. They are both on honor roll, too. It just makes me SICK--all of the bureaucratic baloney that people can create. :sad2: DH and I were just talking about this today...public school has become so bogged down in paperwork and grudge matches (a whole other topic) and has totally forgotten that their goal is educating our children!
     

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