Truancy: Getting tough on parents may help, but we have to connect kids to schools

Students can’t learn if they don’t come to school. Atlanta intends to turn up the heat on parents whose children miss school. It intends to enforce a tough 2009 ordinance that allows a $1,000 fine and up to 60 days in jail when students skip school .

In writing about truancy policies over the years as an editorial writer, I have found inconsistent and ineffectual policies that kick in too late to deter kids from dropping out. This is a critical issue because today’s dropouts become tomorrow’s prison inmates. Nationwide, 71 percent of the prison population never finished high school. When you look at the arrest records of inmates, the first charge is typically truancy.

Despite all the hand wringing over intransigent truants and indifferent parents, there are some responses that have made a difference. One is having enough social workers. Under the staggering caseloads they now carry, school social workers are expected to be miracle workers. We need more social workers in our schools.

In most truancy cases, parents will get their children to school if a social worker knocks on their door once or twice and mentions the possibility of jail. Once those kids are back in their classes, social workers can concentrate on the chronic truants whose parents can’t be coerced into cooperation.

The consequences should take effect quickly, not when the student has amassed a month of absences and is hopelessly behind. And the consequences should focus on catching the children up in their schoolwork, rather than on suspensions that only push them further behind.

Studies find that while tumultuous home lives contribute to truancy, students themselves put the greater blame on their school lives. They cite irrelevant courses, strained relations with teachers, social isolation and their inability to do well in their classes. Truancy-prevention programs have to figure out a way to engage these kids in school and to connect them to other people in the building. As straightforward and obvious as those goals sound, the designs of Georgia schools actually work against them.

Our schools have grown too big for teachers to know their students very well. It’s easy for kids to slip off the radar screen. And the increasing emphasis on test scores gives schools greater incentives to see these chronic truants drop out than remain in class.

But there are notable exceptions. Many Georgia counties are doing a lot to keep kids on track, from paying home visits to providing rides from after-school tutoring.

Atlanta plans to address the chronic truants by raising the stakes for their parents by enforcing its 2009 law, which was enacted because of the scope of the city’s truancy problem. Almost 44 percent of high school students missed 10 or more days of school last year, up from 40 percent in 2009-10, according to the AJC story. That’s compared with about 25 percent in Fulton County.

According to the AJC:

The 2-year-old rule has seldom been enforced until now, said Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, who helped create the ordinance. Mitchell said the goal is to get the attention of parents, to educate them about the importance of good attendance and to help connect them with social programs to ensure their children are regularly going to school.

But critics say the approach is flawed and could cause more worry for families already in distress. “Given the crisis we’re facing in terms of truancy, we could haul droves of parents into court,” Mitchell said. “That is not our objective.”

Research shows that students with better attendance are more likely to earn a high school diploma. But unexcused school absences are a persistent problem in metro Atlanta and across the state despite an array of interventions and deterrence programs.

In Cobb, 8 percent to 10 percent of students log more than 15 absences each school year. In Fulton, almost 25 percent of high school students missed 10 or more days. So far this year, about 8 percent of Gwinnett’s high school students have logged 10 or more absences, both excused and unexcused, according to a school spokesman. DeKalb County, Powder Springs and Kennesaw have ordinances similar to what’s in Atlanta, according to school and county officials.

There’s also punishments built into state law. Georgia students with 10 or more unexcused absences can lose their driver’s license. A query by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found students in virtually every county had their licenses yanked because of missed days. Gwinnett, the state’s largest school system, had the most absence-related license suspensions in 2010, with 2,269 out of a statewide total of 12,974.

After five unexcused absences, a parent can be fined up to $100 and sentenced to 30 days in jail or community service, according to state law. The most severe cases are referred to Juvenile Court.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

85 comments Add your comment

S GA Teacher

December 18th, 2011
9:58 am

I am going to wait and see how well this works out. I have a feeling the parents 1. will not care about paying a fine and will ignore it; 2. manage to stay out of jail; 3. eventually the police will grow tired of going after truant parents.

In other words, this is going to be a huge waste of time and resources because it is impossible to enforce. Watch and see.

mg

December 18th, 2011
10:14 am

Maureen,

You should check into the number of the “truant” students who are in elementary school. A few years ago we saw statistics in DCSS that showed approximately half the truant students were elementary students. These children aren’t skipping school because they’re bored or any other reason given. Their parents aren’t ensuring they are dressed and ready for the bus or brought to school (We won’t even begin to address the on time issue). Truancy in elementary school is a real problem, perhaps if it’s addressed adequately the result will carry over to the middle and high school level.

mountain man

December 18th, 2011
10:18 am

“students themselves put the greater blame on their school lives. They cite irrelevant courses, strained relations with teachers, social isolation and their inability to do well in their classes”

Of course the students would say that! You don’t think they are going to own up to that fact that they are lazy, that they are in a gang, that they are being called “too white” if they go to and enjoy school? You always seem to find a way to blame the teacher!

Truancy is one of the major reasons that teachers cannot be effective, just behind discipline in the classroom. At least this law was a step in the right direction. My question is why there has been no enforcement of the law in two years? Does the police department and DA just ignore laws they don’t want to enforce (like muggings at Ga Tech)?

mountain man

December 18th, 2011
10:23 am

Irrelevant courses – all students say that they can’t see how learning European history is going to help them in their daily lives. Now I can agree with trying to teach potential drop-outs Math 1, 2 and 3.

Strained relations with teachers = teach wants me to work and do homework and be quiet and I only want to talk to my buds.

Social isolation = see above – If I appear to actually enjoy school and do good, I am labeled “too white”.

Inability to do well in their classes = I was “socially promoted” so many times that they are trying to teach calculus to somone who can’t even divide and multiply.

Maureen Downey

December 18th, 2011
10:32 am

@mg, I agree that parents are to blame for elementary age kids missing school, but the numbers say the overwhelming problem is with adolescents and teens.
Maureen

Teacher

December 18th, 2011
10:37 am

stupid stupid, make the poor parents poorer

Chris Murphy

December 18th, 2011
10:45 am

I like your proposal, Maureen, for more social workers in the schools, particularly APS. A new Discipline Policy has been developed for MH Jackson HS, and will be rolled out in Jan. Given Supt. Davis’s intent to look at numbers at the system’s Central Office, I would hope that he reduces their numbers (drastically!), and puts more ‘boots on the ground,’ with people in positions such as social workers. Jackson (and other schools) could also use a second teacher in the “core classes,” making sure that students are up-to-speed.

William Casey

December 18th, 2011
10:58 am

Require parents to be “certified” as teachers are. I’d LOL but it’s too sad.

mountain man

December 18th, 2011
10:58 am

“stupid stupid, make the poor parents poorer”

You can’t get blood out of a turnip, but you can treaten them with jail time and maybe that would get some of their attention!

mountain man

December 18th, 2011
11:01 am

Maybe instead of fining or imprisoning parents, they should be charged with child neglect and the child taken away from them. Of course you would have to mandate implantable birth control or there would be more where that came from. Child taken away= less food stamps, less TANF, less EITC. THAT would get their attention.

gamom

December 18th, 2011
11:08 am

This subject dovetails right into the School To Prison Pipeline.

gamom

December 18th, 2011
11:10 am

The school environment plays a key role in students wanting to be there. If they are bullied and no one helps the student, why should they want to go to school?

mountain man

December 18th, 2011
11:12 am

“The school environment plays a key role in students wanting to be there. If they are bullied and no one helps the student, why should they want to go to school?”

Wouldn’t want to upset some parents by enforcing rules. Someone’s “momma” gonna come down to that school.

gamom

December 18th, 2011
11:13 am

Sometimes there are also clerical errors OR a student may be marked unexcused, but it really was a medical reason…so in those cases, they should not punish the parents. If a child has a chronic or even short term medical condition, these can be mismarked as unexcused. Parents need to check the records regularly. I have caught mistakes myself and it is like pulling teeth to get these mistakes corrected. It never got to the point of a truancy issue, however If I wasn’t paying attention it could have easily.

Good Mother

December 18th, 2011
11:17 am

More social workers would indeed help and also — make the parents go to school with their children — I mean get on the bus and go to school with their kids and have them do a meaningful job — not as a punishment — but to show them they can do valuable work.

I have a cousin who was truant and dropped out. Both her parents earn their living off of we taxpayers: social security disability and whatever it is they are calling welfare these days.

All she knew is that she was supported financially and her parents never lifted their butt off of the sofa — she was so out of touch with how working families lived that when she asked to come live with me — I told her I couldn’t because I had to work all day and couldn’t care for her — she looked at me innocently and said “but you get summers off, right?”

Poor child. She thought work was like school — we all get summers off. It broke my heart. We got her into a really good foster home with a mom who cared but it was too late for her. Her views had already been set like concrete.

So I agree with getting more social workers in early into the homes of elementary students — and the truancy officer should put the parent on the school bus with the child — and go to school. THere is very meaningful work a parent can do at the school They always need more administrative work and every teacher could use an assistant.

The other option would be to get kids involved in any sport of extracurricular activity that keeps them interested — art, music, radio broadcasting, chess, wrestling — even video game clubs — whatever you can do to get them in the door and let them look forward to something they enjoy.

My children have missed a total of ONE day of school. Just one. They were late exactly one time — under five minutes late.

…but I was lucky as a kid. My parents didn’t give a rip about me but there were a couple of things at school I was interested in and it kept me coming in the doors.

If you’re a teacher please understand there may be things in a child’s life that are not under their control. I missed a few high school football games because I was a cheerleader and I got into trouble for missing the games. What no one knew is my father beat the hell out of me the night before and I had bruises all over and I was too ashamed to show up in that short skirt and for everyone to see the purple and black marks.

You just don’t know. So please be kind and have the attitude of helping, not punishing.

Chris Murphy

December 18th, 2011
11:17 am

A lot of students require a fair amount of personal attention. I agree with Maureen that large-size schools have made it near to impossible for those needs to be met. Kids respond to attention.

Good Mother

December 18th, 2011
11:43 am

What gamom says is very true “The school environment plays a key role in students wanting to be there. If they are bullied and no one helps the student, why should they want to go to school?”

There are fights in the school that go unreported. One or more bullies on a victim so before we kick around the kid who isn’t at school, we need to make sure school is a safe place to go.

My school had a strict policy about wearing certain colors and hairstyles — those that indicated membership in a gang. I wondered about it then but as a parent I completely agree with the policy — keep menacing tensions out of the school and out of the lives of kids.

drew (former teacher)

December 18th, 2011
12:18 pm

OK, I’ll play devil’s advocate on this one:

Once again the NCLB mentality is at work here…God forbid we leave a child behind! With schools struggling to teach those who WANT TO LEARN, here’s a call to focus even more time and resources on those who obviously have no interest in taking advantage of a free eduction. So let’s burden not only the school systems, but the justice system as well, by trying to force education down the throats of those who don’t want it.

Ever tried to make a child eat something they don’t want? Can you make them? You can lead a horse to water, but…

While there are exceptions, my guess is that the vast majority of truants simply don’t want to go to school, and if they are forced they will be nothing but a drain on the system. So for the good of those who DO want an education, I say let them go. Do away with compulsory attendance laws and watch school discipline improve. I wonder how many “chronic discipline” problems would walk right out the schoolhouse door if given the opportunity?

I know it sounds cold, but more resources and effort directed at those who have no interest in learning, the more those who want to learn will suffer. How many teachers out there have a student who is not there to learn, but there to socialize, deal drugs, chronically misbehave, etc.? How many teachers would love to have this student gone, so they can focus on those who actually want to learn? Why would we even want to force this student to attend school?

You cannot force-feed an education on someone. Sure, you CAN beat your head against the wall trying to, but it will be at the expense of everyone involved. I’m just saying schools should focus their efforts and resources on those who WANT TO LEARN; not those who have no interest, no desire, and no intention, to learn.

PS…I’m sure a lot of bleeding hearts out there will come back with…”well if the schools don’t deal with them, the justice system will have to”. And to that, I say, fine…that’s why we have a justice system. Choices —–> consequences! Welcome to reality.

mountain man

December 18th, 2011
12:49 pm

Or maybe we should concentrate on even before schools – women who have babies out of wedlock and at an early age just so they can have a baby that loves them – then they grow into a little child that has needs and all of a sudden it isn’t as much fun anymore, it is work to get them up and dressed and at the bus stop every morning. A little birth control would go a long way.

teacher&mom

December 18th, 2011
2:08 pm

I work in a district that will take parents to court for truancy….however, the court will not back the school. The judge will threaten and scare a few into returning to school. The hardcore truant cases will return back to court time after time. Then May will arrive and all is forgotten until around October when the unexcused absences reach the 10 day mark.

And the cycle repeats itself….at least until the age of 16.

Our district also has an evening charter school that does not have a mandatory attendance policy. It is a self-paced program that is designed for the “disengaged, uninterested, and non-traditional student.” Their biggest obstacle….you guessed it…..attendance.

I hope someone finds a solution because it is a huge problem.

teacher&mom

December 18th, 2011
2:11 pm

One social worker per school would be a great start. One social worker per 2000 students is not going to make a dent in the problem.

Public HS Teacher

December 18th, 2011
2:55 pm

We have to try this. It is for the children. The parents need to step up to the plate and be held accountable somehow.

If the parents cannot or will not pay the fine, then give them jail time or community service. Let the court system deal with this now rather than wait for the children to grow up and become thieves or worse.

Public HS Teacher

December 18th, 2011
2:56 pm

@teacher&mom – no more social workers. Just turn it over to the law. Let them take if from there. The school will only need to turn over a list once per week to the law of truent kids. That’s it.

teacher

December 18th, 2011
3:17 pm

The parents in the forty and younger bracket have yet to grow up ( I am in this age).
They think it is okay to check their child out to go to lunch for their birthday, or take an extra day off before a long weekend or not make them go when the kids whine about it.
This problem is especially bad in the elementary grades and schools do nothing about it.
When the kids get to high school, they fail automatically with too many days and wonder why schools are so mean.
Our school has several students and parents with probation officers because of the truancy issue.

Fled

December 18th, 2011
3:36 pm

Like Good Mother, I was pretty much thrown out with the bathwater. My father disappeared when I was eight. Mom absconded to another state and left me alone at fourteen because a fifteen-year-old ought to be able to take care of himself. At first, I thought, “Cool, I can do whatever I want.” However, 90 cents an hour, which was my wage at the time, did not cover my physical needs, and I had no guidance or support at all. I think that’s when I developed the loneliness and sense of impending disaster that has cursed me through my life. I had several brushes with the Law, one quite serious, and had little interest in school beyond seeing my friends and collecting and distributing herbs. The social worker understood enough about my situation, and cared enough, to know that I needed to get out fast or I never would. With her active intervention (I once overheard a fiery meeting she had with an Assistant Principal who wanted to expel me), I became a sixteen-year-old graduating two years early on a fast-track academic program with a D—– gpa. Almost all my teachers hated me, and several recommended including prison time in my career planning. I did no work, was apathetic, was frequently absent, was disrespectful, was stoned, and was completely miserable because my parents had left me alone.

After a year of minimum wage work and poverty following graduation, school did not look nearly so bad. I was accepted into a state school on strict probation through open admissions. They made it quite clear that this was my one and only chance. By the time my class graduated from high school, I had completed a year of college and had a 4.0. Since I knew basically nothing when I entered college, I had to learn everything from scratch. I also learned that I was smart, instead of the dumb*ss I had always been told I was. In the end, I was graduated summa cum laude from a college I transferred to when I understood that having a 4.0 after two years (and having a tale to tell) meant I could go to a much better school.

I won’t sign off as usual because this is an area where I don’t want you to give up. Some (note I do not say all) kids who might seem like, look like, and act like jerks or creeps or who cause you problems, who don’t even pretend to care, might have problems beyond your imagination. Parents who beat them. Parents who abandoned them. Even parents who exploit them for profit. So, yes, as Good Mother says, please, try to help, not hurt. I know it’s hard, but I bet that every teacher knows at least one kid who needs to know that somebody gives a damn. You really might change a life if you do.

With regard to students, don’t throw in the towel. Don’t give up. (I still think you ought to flee, but not from your students.)

Lee

December 18th, 2011
3:37 pm

Let’s see, we’ve gone from school being a privilege, to a right, to now, a mandatory requirement complete with fines and possible jail time.

In the meantime, we’ve gone from no welfare, to the Great Society, to now, complete coverage where we have generational welfare recipients who think sitting on one’s butt and collecting a check is a preferred lifestyle.

We now act surprised when these same non-producers have little incentive to make sure their children receive an education to have a better life than they.

Tie attendence to EBT vouchers, food stamps, Section 8 housing allowances, etc, etc, and maybe you’ll see some results.

mountain man

December 18th, 2011
3:53 pm

“Tie attendence to EBT vouchers, food stamps, Section 8 housing allowances, etc, etc, and maybe you’ll see some results”

There you go! Someone is thinking!

Fred

December 18th, 2011
3:58 pm

Lee

December 18th, 2011
3:37 pm

Let’s see, we’ve gone from school being a privilege, to a right, to now, a mandatory requirement complete with fines and possible jail time.

In the meantime, we’ve gone from no welfare, to the Great Society, to now, complete coverage where we have generational welfare recipients who think sitting on one’s butt and collecting a check is a preferred lifestyle.

We now act surprised when these same non-producers have little incentive to make sure their children receive an education to have a better life than they.

Tie attendence to EBT vouchers, food stamps, Section 8 housing allowances, etc, etc, and maybe you’ll see some results.
++++++++++++++++++++++

Just exactly who ARE “these people” you are referring to Lee? Can you provide a list of names? How many of “these people” are there? I know Rush and Neal talk about “these people” all the time but I’m not a neophyte and I don’t take them at their lying word. ESPECIALLY not the drug addict Rush. I want some names and addresses

PROOF in other words, not rhetoric.

mountain man

December 18th, 2011
4:03 pm

“Just exactly who ARE “these people” you are referring to Lee? Can you provide a list of names?”

The schools won’t tell you their names. “Privacy act”.

mountain man

December 18th, 2011
4:05 pm

I would be glad to do a free study on the make-up of the students who are habitually truant, and I believe you would see exactly what we are talking about. Low Socio-economic standing is one of the big drivers for truancy. Single mothers.

Beverly Fraud

December 18th, 2011
4:25 pm

“Under the staggering caseloads they now carry, school social workers are expected to be miracle workers. We need more social workers in our schools.”

If there is one group that is given a more COMPLETELY UNREALISTIC expectation, combined with a complete LACK of administrative support than teachers, it’s school social workers.

Why do one think that, unfortunately, it’s going to take THOUSANDS fleeing, like Fled did, to get schools and society to WAKE UP?

roughrider

December 18th, 2011
4:28 pm

We should go back to the old days and just educate the kids that want to learn. We have to fact the fact that if a child does not want to learn, it’s almost impossible to educate them.

oldtimer

December 18th, 2011
5:14 pm

Another attendance concern…when teachers accidently mark someone present when they were not…One time we had one two teachers mark here…3 absent. Turns out he robbed someone and hurt an elderly woman. A few teachers got a big lecture about the importance of being accurate. He was not at school. Fingerprints were finally used.

oldtimer

December 18th, 2011
5:30 pm

For those who say…just turn the issue over to the courts…..That probably will not help. These students need to learn how to care and want to do better. Schools need social workers, but also volunteers. Dads to walk the hall and tell children to tuck in there shirts….moms to bring homemade cookies on test day..when all is said and done. Volunteers to give out pencils the first day, smile and welcome them back to school. Adults modeling good behavior and pride would go a long way. Adults who care enough to sponsor church or neighborhood study groups when there is no one home to help with homework. Adults to monitor the streets when buses stop and let children out. Organize neighborhood groups to do some of this. Let kids know you think they are important even if the sorry parents dp not know how.

Sam

December 18th, 2011
5:36 pm

Insert silly speech from Maureen about how all schools are equally affected by truancy here.

Lee

December 18th, 2011
5:38 pm

@Fred, I thought I gave a pretty fair description of who I was talking about. Too bad the AJC Blog doesn’t allow graphical illustrations, or I would draw you a picture….

Hmmmmmmm

December 18th, 2011
6:14 pm

RIDICULOUS….

Public HS Teacher

December 18th, 2011
6:32 pm

@Lee -

Why do you assume that truancy is a problem with primarily low income families? This is your assumption based on your proposed solution.

In my high school, parents regularly take their child out of school for a variety of things. I had a girl miss one day a week because her mother felt it important for them to have mother/daughter time at the spa! This student barely passed her classes – of course the mother blamed the school and the “bad” teachers.

There are students planning to miss over a week of school before and after the winter break because their parents planned an extended vacation. We teachers are having to do back-flips to provide alternate final exams, assessments, not to meantion how we start the new semester.

There are students that miss 4th period every day because their dad wants to have lunch with them.

There are students the missed the first two periods every day so their mom can cook them breakfest.

All of these kids end up doing poorly in their classes. And, of course, it is the teachers fault.

Go figure.

catlady

December 18th, 2011
6:40 pm

The only part of this the school should control, other than notifying the law, should be to make schools smaller. For all kids, but most especially at-risk kids (poor, single parent, uneducated). We pay up-front in higher expenditures for more schools, or we pay through the rear for more dropouts, crime, unwed mothers, welfare, multi-generational ignorance, etc) It really is that simple. Smaller schools are better sources of involvement for students (and parents).

I don’t buy the “classes are not relevant” balderdash. What 14 year old knows what is relevant? It is the same nonsense when I hear a parent say, “He is failing your class because he is bored.” Malarkey! If he were bored, he would be making 100 on everything and turning it in ahead of time. He hasn’t learned SELF DISCIPLINE. Pure and simple.

It is very sad but I can predict, from my current crop of 2-4th graders, many of those who will drop out. It is the same kids whose parents I have been having conferences with for the last 6 weeks. These are kids who ARE IN CHARGE AT HOME. Their parents have lost control over them at the age of 7, 8, or 9!

Attendance is a marker of discipline, so it is no wonder the percentages you have listed. These are the homes where discipline (for adults or kids) has never been established. Parents have never claimed and defended their authority over their children.

There is no excuse for these types of attendance figures. Fine the parents, remove the kids, jail the parents, jail the kids, whatever it takes, but it is NOT the schools’ role to solve every single problem that comes down the pike.

single parent

December 18th, 2011
7:01 pm

I want to take to task the idea that single motherhood is some part of the cause of truancy. I have raised all my children when they lost their father. My oldest will graduate 4.0, accepted already one of the best programs in the country and the younger children will follow in those large footsteps. Please not ALL single mothers have so little regard for education and there are plenty of parents who think that their angels are owed a senior skip day or a mental health day or pull kids out so that they can take a family vacation out of the area. ( Maybe that is the factor- not many single parents can afford to take their families out of the area ).
Parents who don’t care/don’t know about parenting and parents who don’t value education are the ones to blame.

[...] 2009 ordinance that allows a $1,000 fine and up to 60 days in jail when students skip school.”(more)    Comments (0) Go to main news [...]

Starlight

December 18th, 2011
7:47 pm

A few things, children in elementary school that are not going the parents are charged with educational neglect. Youth who are able to attend school ie walk, get on the bus parents do send them but they don’t go are truant. Education foundation starts early., Parents have to believe that it is important for their children to attend school. Now, I believe that SNAP, TANF etc should be tied to education. DFACS should check with the court to make sure that their are no open educational neglect or truancy cases with the court. This would also help the high rate of parents who refuse to show for court, or jump county lines and start fresh.I believe in fines and community servicve if the absences do not decrease.
The school system needs to add more social workers. They could use a tier system and employ BSW social workers to address the truancy/educational neglect work. That would include making contact with the families and helping them with any issues. If the social workers have to file then the MSW Social worker can handle that.
Another option could be for those young ladies that get pregnant while in school can be placed in a special school that is geared toward them and give them a chance to return to school with their baby for a year or so. Many young ladies don’t return because of childcare issues.
This so so much deeper than a parent not taking their child to school. If any of you had your way the parent would be locked up, if you do that then the children go into the custody of DFACS then what?

@Maureen

December 18th, 2011
8:17 pm

Why do you continue to give Lee and Digger a platform to spew their racism on this blog?

em

December 18th, 2011
8:17 pm

Having dealt with more than a few truant students in the classroom, I find this to be somewhat of a conundrum. The bigger question should be what to do with the truant student who is forced to return to the classroom then becomes a disruption. Alternatives are needed for sure but continuously sacrificing the many for the few is not the answer.

Tonya C.

December 18th, 2011
8:25 pm

Wow. It seems like many of these kids needs the FT care afforded in an orphanage, not a public school. Dads walking the halls and moms making cookies? Social workers continuously checking in? I think people here need to be far more realistic about the current resources available in the system. If the truancy problem is so bad for so many then termination of parental rights needs to be seriously discussed.

We need to decide what the goals of schools are, because the duties seem to be multiplying ten times faster than the funds.

Tonya C.

December 18th, 2011
8:26 pm

And I don’t think this issue is limited or even dominated by single parents. I believe it is piss poor parenting, pure and simple.

Rick

December 18th, 2011
9:06 pm

@Maureen

December 18th, 2011
8:17 pm
Why do you continue to give Lee and Digger a platform to spew their racism on this blog?

Only racism I have seen is yours. Low income is not limited to any one race.

doh

December 18th, 2011
11:22 pm

This makes really no sense. According to the LAW, the parents are responsible if children are not in school. However, according to the Department of Education when it comes time to determine if a school makes AYP according to attendance, the SCHOOL gets punished if there are too many absent kids. So what is it, the parent’s responsibility or the school’s? Why don’t you go ahead and report on that.

Responsibility

December 19th, 2011
12:54 am

Why do we have to continue to create more positions (such as social workers) in schools and government entities to ensure that people take responsibility for their own lives? And yes, Public HS Teacher, unfortunately there IS a strong correlation between income level and school attendance. Of course there are the cases of high income parents who take their children out of school on a whim, but overwhelmingly looking at the data of the past 5 years at least (all of which is reported on the OSA website) high poverty schools have MUCH higher absentee rates. We can’t stick our heads in the sand and pretend that isn’t a real statistic just because some high income parents take their kids out of school for a “ski vacay”

This issue goes so far beyond school attendance. People don’t take responsibility for their own actions anymore. Too many people have children out of “relationships” (even many many more out of Wedlock)…but having a child is a huge responsibility and entirely too many babies are born to parents (typically single young mothers) who are in no way ready for the responsibility.

Why does NO ONE talk about the growing and extreme rates of african american children born out of wedlock and who then grow up with no father in their lives? This isn’t a racist statement…in fact I care a great deal about the advancement of african americans, but no one seems willing to tackle this issue. AND I can tell you that any educator working in a high minority school can quickly tell you how much the boys need “male role models” because there is no father in the home. We can’t fix this problem until we accept it and discuss it….

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

December 19th, 2011
1:29 am

Responsibility,

You’re on to something. Fatherless children are much more likely to grow into dangerous, feral adolescents.

Of course, bastardy is a problem not unique to any race. The last numbers I say indicated that 30% of children born ro white mothers were born out-of-wedlock. But so long as we as individuals and our society as a whole ignore reproductive irresponsibility, we’ll get much more of it than we and its innocent byproducts need.