School Attendance

Discussion in 'The DIS Unplugged Podcast' started by jcb, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. pjweaver

    pjweaver just happy to be here

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    I do not see why 'good attendance' matters so much. Why not good grades and standardized test results as well?

    Then again, I do not see what the issue is at all. Every place has rules, even if you don't agree with then. If I drive 50 MPH ins a 35 MPH zone I can explain to the cop I don't agree with the rule, but it won't help. A school district in the States is a special district that governs it's own policies. It collects revenue and hires employees, and it sets it's own rules and penalties. Do what you like with your child, but know it may cost you.
     
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  2. melanielll

    melanielll DIS Veteran

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    I live in Texas. My kids are older (26 and 21), but we did public schools there.

    The school district gets funding from many sources, but one pot of state money that they draw from pays the district around $75 per day of student attendance. The districts act in an almost manic manner when it comes to this money. I will add to this that I live in a wealthy district - every high school has at least 4 gyms (even the dance teams have their own gyms because sharing with a volleyball team is an unbearable burden), natatoriums, parking garages, multiple theaters and performing arts centers. When the pool at the high school has the same starting blocks that they use in the Olympics - money is not a problem. However - chasing this $75 became insane for a time.

    Until a couple of years ago - unexcused absences could be punished by JAIL TIME for the parents. Seriously - locking parents up because you want to go to your aunt's wedding. That law was in place for several years, but was recently voted out of existence.

    I wish they would just shut up about attendance for kids with good grades and behavior. I would pay the freaking $75 every day missed if it would calm them down.
     
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  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc DIS Veteran

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    I'm a teacher.

    We did report cards a few days ago. A number of my D's -- including the only 2 65's-- have attendance issues.

    I resigned myself a long time ago to the fact that attendance isn't a priority to everyone. My mantra has become: "I will teach whoever shows up. More than that, I cannot do." I'm not the attendance police, you don't have to justify to me that you're pulling your child out of my class for any reason you want. But know that he WILL miss work. We go bell to bell every single class. And getting the notes simply isn't the same as being there, as choosing what to put into that notebook based on what's happening in class-- how it makes sense to you and how you choose to explain it to yourself.

    But, please, if anyone tries to tell you that your child won't miss anything during a week's absence, question exactly what is going on in that classroom. Logically, if you're out for a week, SHOULDN'T you be missing a lot?? If your child can learn everything that was taught simply by getting the notes, please question the money you pay in school taxes. You're paying teachers when you should just be buying books.

    As to my own kids, if they're sick, they stay home. But we do NOT pull them out of school for vacations. We vacation over the summer.

    Oh, and we're on vacation this week. Of COURSE I have lots of work to do. And I've been teaching since 1980-- I'm no rookie. But I don't use canned lessons-- what I teach and how I choose to explain it depends on each year's group of kids. So there's always prep work. And, of course this time of year there are college recommendations to write, final exams to prep, last minute SAT prep work for my Juniors to organize, not to mention the National Honor Society stuff I have to prepare for the last few weeks of school. I'm picking up a new class next Monday, to cover for colleague who just had a baby. So I'll have to familiarize myself with her plans, the way she wants her course taught, where she is in a syllabus I haven't taught in 3 years, and be prepared for as seamless a transition as I can manage.

    I suppose there probably are teachers who don't work over vacations. I simply don't know any.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2017
  5. KC Mouse

    KC Mouse Mouseketeer

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    I hope I can add an interesting perspective on this subject. I have been teaching for 12 years, every year students leave school for vacation, and sadly enough its usually the students that can't afford to miss school. How many days has your student missed? Can they handle the extra work to catch up? Is there anyway you can plan this vacation without hurting their education? This May I will be out of school in time for the 20th and my kids will still be in school. I met with their principal and had a long discussion about the vacation. She was very helpful and we have used the last couple of weeks as a chance to work ahead. Bottom line is that if your child is in good academic standings than most likely your school will work with you. Hope this helps. Please look past any typeo's. I am not an English teacher!
     
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  6. WDWRNTLK

    WDWRNTLK Retirement goal - RN in the Magic Kingdom!

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    Our son goes to a small private school. They ask that we not take him out during the year, but in practice they don't actually care. So long as he is doing well and makes up his work, it's all good.
    That's the way I think it should be!
     
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  7. kamik86

    kamik86 DIS Veteran

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    When I was in high school this was an exact argument i made to explain why my school was such a joke.

    I went to a high school that did a week of academics then a week of shop, so in theory a week of our academics should have covered 2 normal weeks at a normal non-vocation school. I could have missed a week of academics with no problem. I don't think I ever did miss any entire week but 3 days was actually pretty common from time to time and I barely even had to try to make up that work.

    Now based on some kids I know from various parts of the country for an online game I run I know the schools vary in HUGE degrees. One of the kids is practically a genius and couldn't miss a week of school because his school is rigorous. If he was going to my high school he could attend every other day and still be fine.

    I think this is why advice on taking kids out is so hard... the schools are so different in expectations that there is really no way to answer this without knowing both the kid and the school.
     
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  8. MaryKatesMom

    MaryKatesMom DIS Veteran

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    I took my children out of school every year until they got to high school when the workload became to much and too stressful. Both daughters always made honor's every quarter right on through until graduation.

    I only had 1 teacher be uncooperative and difficult but that was her personality. It wasn't about the child at all.

    Study after study has shown that our antiquated school year based on the agrarian calendar is detrimental to a child's education. 8 weeks of summer vacation is plenty but powerful special interest groups have blocked the discussion.
     
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  9. pjweaver

    pjweaver just happy to be here

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    Our district in Pa has nine weeks of summer vacation, eight weeks for the teachers. School resumes the last week of August for students, which means temperatures in the low 90's; That is detrimental to education.
     
  10. MaryKatesMom

    MaryKatesMom DIS Veteran

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    So there is no air conditioning? That is rough.

    Our teacher's contract in our district in PA mandates that school does not start until the Wednesday after Labor Day. I'm not sure why the union has the power to dictate the school calendar but it does.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc DIS Veteran

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    I'm on Long Island.

    I know of no schools with air conditioning in classrooms. It simply isn't cost effective for the 4 or 5 bad days per school year.
     
  12. limabeanmom2003

    limabeanmom2003 Wilderness Lodge Memories

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    Attendance is huge issue in many schools and has a definite impact on learning. A rule is applied regarding how many days a student can be absent (unexcused) and once they pass that number they are at risk for retention. That being said, no school is going to retain a child who has missed too many days but is still meeting standards and passing end of grade tests. But the issue isn't that child. The issue is the child that misses a lot of school and is struggling academically. My kids missed 2 days in Nov and 2 days in Jan to go to disney this school year. This is the last year we will be taking the kids out of school for vacation since my oldest starts high school this year and has all honors classes. He has even told me that he would prefer not miss school. We will travel during school breaks.
     
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  13. MaryKatesMom

    MaryKatesMom DIS Veteran

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    When my oldest got went to HS we had to stop taking them out for our trips to WDW also. Having to move the trips to Easter made us very grateful for having taken them out in the past. Not only were the trips cheaper but it is much more enjoyable to be in a less crowded park. The crowd levels the first full week of December were in the 1-2 range (can't say that of any week anymore) and the time spent was well worth it.

    We are so grateful for those laid back trips with no lines anywhere. You don't get the time back with your children.
     
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  14. OKW Lover

    OKW Lover Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle. DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    Interesting range of policies here. Apparently some school districts think that attendance=education.
     
  15. Felicis

    Felicis DIS Veteran

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    I am in New Zealand. I teach 6 turning 7 year olds (our Year 2). I am all for holidays. Our policy is that we don't give any make up work if parents choose to take their children out during term time. I will let them know if they are likely to miss anything major, but the reality is that our system is geared to teach to individual needs and with solid integration, missing a week on x now doesn't mean they have missed their only chance at x. There might be gaps that need to be addressed, it might be that missing x means that they aren't ready for y, but in the general scheme of things, it isn't usually an issue.

    Secondary/high school is different - missing a week on something means that you lose that week of learning, it isn't as individualised, there isn't the time to go back for one student. So to make that choice later on depends on a number of things.

    We have more problems with children missing a lot of school for other reasons, usually around poverty or other similar reasons, than with travel. I guess because travel from NZ is so expensive, it tends to be people who are more able to help with their children's learning who take regular holidays during term time.

    If I was a parent in an area where the school system was such that missing time could be an issue, but I still wanted my term time holiday, I would take it, and be prepared to pay for tutoring to make that learning loss up, if necessary. I understand that in some areas, absent children aren't counted for funding, so the impact on the school from multiple children on term time holidays can be substantial - I can understand them needing to recoup that money somewhere. I am yet to find a system that can handle steady avoidable financial losses when they tend to be underfunded from the get go. If that was the case, I would pay the fee (because it is a fee, in that instance, not a fine, IMO). If it was just a fine for fines sake, that is ridiculous IMO, and I would be against that.
     
  16. Westcoastwild

    Westcoastwild DIS Veteran

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    What I think:
    It's not about the money. It's about the time. Money is just one of those things parents might take notice of, unfortunately.

    If a parent in came to me and said "I want to take Lucy to Europe because I've got a business trip/family event and it would be an educational experience" I would personally be fine with saying "cool, we will figure out an alternative assignment that applies to both what she's studying and what she'll experience over there." Partly because that will be an educational experience- Lucy will be around a different culture. Partly because let's be honest, they're probably taking Lucy because there isn't a practical solution that involves leaving her behind.

    If another parent says "I'm taking tommy out of school for week because our trip to WDW will be much cheaper"...my answer will not be the same.

    The problem is as a teacher I've got to treat both parents equally. So as a consequence, both of those parents are going to be fined. The absence will affect both kids' grades. No make up work, because my policy is you can make up stuff if you can give me a note from your doctor or a death certificate for that funeral.

    I don't consider that fair to Lucy. But neither do I think that it's fair that Tommy's parents deliberately planned their WDW trip around during class time, and then expect that to have no difference in his grade. In theory, you shouldn't be doing much redundancy in lessons and everything you teach becomes the basis for later material.

    It's true that many kids won't be set back by missing that material. But missing participation time or classroom activities means you'll be rejoining the classroom out of step and confused. That's on you if you do it in college. That's on parents if it happens before that.

    Now, both parents can still take the kids out. I can't stop them. They can accept my rules and pay whatever penalty there is. I'm not going to hold it against them or keep hammering on about it.

    But you know what? The worst part of the job is when you give a kid like Tommy a report card and he looks disappointed. Then his parents come in and complain. But they took him out for a week during fall for WDW, a week in December for skiing, and then he was sick for a week in spring. At that point, I am not at all surprised he failed his final. I am always surprised that he and his parents can't grasp that his absences probably contributed to it.

    Anyway: the fines sound like an overreach of the state. But given the crap I've heard from parents, the only solution I've come up with is that everyone has to be treated equally.

    As a kid, I was one of those high performing kids that could miss a month and still ace every test. My parents never ever took us out of school for vacation. As an adult, I finally understand and respect that. No job lets you accrue excessive absences and often if you even have the vacation time, you should not take it. You can't participate if you're not there. In college, if you don't attend one class, you may have missed a crucial discussion. You'll pay for that later. Allowances can be made for valid reasons. But vacation is never a valid reason. I don't really think it gives the kids any advantage to think partipation and attendance does not matter. Would you be okay with your kid's teacher for taking off two weeks to go to Europe off season? (If so, please start a petition to give the school district. My fellow staff members and I are thinking Oktoberfest in Munich would be a good "staff retreat".):drinking1
     
  17. keri125

    keri125 Mouseketeer

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    I don't know that I have anything constructive to add, just my own experience. My son is 12 and I have taken him out for a holiday during the school year three times. Once when he was in kindergarten for our family reunion at WDW, and then in fourth grade I took him out for a week to meet family, attend a wedding, and hike in Zion National Park. We were back for one week, then took off for another week to Universal. I was so nervous about telling his fourth grade teacher about it, but she was wonderful. She actually had him complete a Power Point and a video log for both trips, which he then presented to the class. However, while I personally liked his teacher, I did not feel like she did a good job teaching academically. I don't know that would have felt as comfortable taking him out if the academics were more rigorous. Now that he is in sixth grade I would not do it for a "fun" trip. However, my mom is renting her house from a good friend who is living in Rome for three years, so there may be a possibility of visiting. If the only option was to go during the school year, you can bet I would pull him out, as I feel the learning he would do there would far outweigh any negative affects from missing school.
     
  18. Mouse Ear

    Mouse Ear Earning My Ears

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    Another teacher here. I think this has a ton of variables.

    Some kids will do fine missing 10 days of class - Others will not. Some students will stay home with a headache - Others will not. Some students are fighting to stay out of credit recovery - others are not. There's definitely no black-and-white answer to this. If you have a generally healthy kid who is capable and willing to put in the work to stay on-pace with the class, I don't see that is a big deal. I might not do it every year, but once every few years could definitely be a possibility. If your kid has been out for two weeks with mono or whatever, I might reconsider the trip.

    I think it boils down to two things: 1. you know your kids and what they're able to handle - If you don't quite know if they will be able to keep up, taking them out for a few days might not be the best thing for them. 2. Communicate with the teachers! I get contacted frequently with parents asking for work because they will be out for several days. The earlier, the better. I've had two instances where the student had been out for several days and they come back "oh, I went to the beach." It's easier for me (and I think most teachers - but I don't want to speak for them) to be proactive about these events.
     
  19. limabeanmom2003

    limabeanmom2003 Wilderness Lodge Memories

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    Very true!
     
  20. Anitsirk24

    Anitsirk24 Mouseketeer

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    For us, we are in NC. Parents who have children missing excessive days can be charged criminally for truancy. Usually that is not done until they have missed over 20 unexcused. Being sick, for example, is excused and not held against parents with the proper documentation.

    Pulling my kids or simply depends on where we are going and work scheduling. I have, for the last two years, pulled my daughter for WDW for 5-6 days. Academically she is on grade level and she is fine doing that. If she was struggling, then it would be different. It may be different when she is older. But right now I see no problem. Now, we don't travel when she has testing or other important things going on at school. Which is why we aren't going to the 20th anniversary event. When we know we will be out, we let the teachers know and it's not a big deal.
     
  21. KC Mouse

    KC Mouse Mouseketeer

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    Every teacher I know is fed up with the "summer vacation ". We spend all summer going to professional development, taking classes or working a second job. It's time things change
     

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