I think Clark Howard was wrong on this call: Truancy case not so simple. School not so wrong.

I am a longtime fan of Atlanta-based TV and radio consumer reporter Clark Howard, having spent two years in my journalism career writing a weekly consumer column in which I tested advertising claims. No one can beat Howard on consumer issues.

But I heard Howard’s education commentary today on the infamous Diane Tran truancy case out of Texas and respectfully disagree with his conclusion that what happened to the Houston-area student illustrates the failings of public schools. (I also disagree with his strong criticisms of the judge.)

As an education writer, I get emails every day purportedly proving how stupid public school administrators are. And, indeed, the cases, as presented to me, often make the school’s actions seem downright crazy. Until you collect more information.

In 99 percent of the cases, the issues are far more complex, the school’s rationale far more nuanced. Are the school’s decisions sometimes wrong? Yes, but they are not baseless.

Here is the problem with web-fueled frenzies like the Tran case: People often respond to the simplest and most condensed version of the story.

So here is the simple version: Honor student Diane Tran, 17, was sentenced to spend the night of May 23 in jail because of repeated and excessive absences from school. An online furor developed because Diane cares for two siblings and works all night to support them as there are no parents in the picture. She misses school out of exhaustion from her home responsibilities.

In reality, neither sibling lives with Diane. In fact, one is older and attends college. Yes, there have been recent disruptions in her family due to her parents’ divorce. Her mother left the state and her dad works late hours himself, so late that she does stay with another family during the school week. But Diane’s own lawyer told reporters,  “Her dad is very much in the picture.”

Here is what the Houston Chronicle says about the teen’s living and working arrangements:

Tran, a junior, who friends describe as “quiet and shy,” works weekends at a wedding venue and every day after school at a dry cleaner until it closes at night. Then she must complete homework for the heavy course load she is taking, her friends say.

She lives four days a week with the owner of the wedding venue and then spends the rest at her apartment in Willis where her father visits when he’s not working in Houston.

She also financially helps a younger sibling living with another Houston relative and an older brother attending Texas A&M University.

So, how many days did Diane miss?

I finally found that she was first referred to the courts for missing or being late more than 100 days. Under Texas law — enacted by the elected Texas legislature, not the schools –  if a student fails to attend school without excuse on 10 or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year, a school district shall “file a complaint against the student or the student’s parent or both in a county, justice, or municipal court.”

In Diane’s first go around, the judge told her that she could not collect any more unexcused absences or tardiness. But the absences and tardiness continued. The judge only took the extreme action of sentencing her to one night in jail because she had ignored the earlier court order.

According to the Chronicle:

Should a student violate a prior court order against missing class and continue to have unexcused absences (as happened with Tran) – additional steps must be taken to enforce the law and try to ensure the student finishes high school, the judge said.

Nonetheless, {Judge}Moriarty took the unusual step Wednesday to vacate his contempt of court order that sent Tran to jail last week. He said the court summons failed to notify her that she could have an attorney, and he had since become aware of extenuating circumstances.

His chief clerk said he had been unaware of her personal struggles prior to issuing his contempt of court order.

When asked why she was missing classes, she told the court that she had a hard time getting up, the clerk said.

She never told the judge that she was exhausted from working two jobs to help support herself and assist with two other siblings since her parents divorced, authorities said.

Tran’s pro bono attorney, Brian Wice, said Moriarty was being “unfairly vilified” by critics since then: “I am convinced that the judge always has the best interest of children at heart. He was only trying to get across the message of the importance of attending classes. He did not know all that was going on with Diane.”

Moriarty stressed in his statement that he wanted the “best quality of life possible” for all the residents of his Montgomery County precinct, and must hold them and their parents accountable for unexcused absences. But he said he listens to each case with an “open mind” and tries to make a just decision.

At the same time, a fund (HelpDianeTran.com) has raised $100,000 from residents in 50 states and 19 countries to help her.

“To tell the truth, she is overwhelmed by the support and a little embarrassed,” said Wice. “She does not want to be in the spotlight and thinks it should go to those more needy than her. But we will ensure that it is used for her college and then possibly earmark some for others. This is a work in progress.”

The junior was studying for her SAT exam, scheduled for Saturday, and was unavailable for comment.

Were their mistakes in this case? Sure, but both sides fall short of the online depictions.

The Diane Tran story is the second truancy-related controversy in the last two months to enrage online readers. The earlier news story dealt with an Ohio high school senior banned from graduation for missing too many classes. Austin Fish missed the classes to take his mother for chemo treatments and to stay home and nurse her.

I received this email after we discussed the Fish case on the blog in April, but think it is relevant now:

With surprise, I read the loving responses to poor Mr. Fish. We hear all the time that schools aren’t preparing their students for the real world. Ask your kindhearted bloggers: What if Mr. Fish was not 18, but 19 and on their payroll? What if he was supposed to open their convenience store each morning but failed to do so because he was taking his mother to the doctor?  What if he didn’t show up 10 times to open the store in a six month interval? Or show up to paint your house? Or deliver your pizzas? Good reasons or not, most employers would fire him and nobody would blame them.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

54 comments Add your comment

catlady

June 11th, 2012
4:20 pm

As some of us said at the time, there was a lot more to this than originally presented. And the school was vilified by so many, who had no clue as to the whole facts! As usual.

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

June 11th, 2012
4:30 pm

This happens far too frequently because schools have ethics clauses that do not allow teachers or administration to talk to the media about students or events that have occurred in school. Thus, the public usually only gets one side of the story. I have seen local reports on school events about which I had first hand knowledge, and had I only read the news reports and not known all the background information, I would have been just as outraged as the general public. As it was, I knew both sides of the issues, and therefore understood a great deal more about WHY events unfolded as they did. Sadly, our schools and school personnel often end up getting vilified in the name of a “good story.”

Dr. Monica Henson

June 11th, 2012
4:54 pm

Kudos to the judge for vacating the order and taking into account the student’s circumstances once he was apprised of them. However, why did the school not notify the judge of such? Was the school aware of the student’s circumstances? If so, then what support did the school provide prior to taking such drastic action as notifying the court?

The bigger question that is going unasked is, if traditional classroom attendance is so essential, how could the young woman maintain honor student status with so many absences? This case is a prime example of why this country needs other options than traditional seat-time based high school credits.

Hillbilly D

June 11th, 2012
4:55 pm

There’s three sides to every story. One side, the other side, and what really happened. As for this case, I don’t really know enough about it to have an opinion.

Fred ™

June 11th, 2012
4:59 pm

Your last paragraph is dumber than dog squeeze. School is NOT a job. Especially the joke that school has become.

I have no idea how many days of school I missed my senior year. Probably 40 or 50. My grades? All A’s of course in the “gifted classes.” What folks consider gifted I consider barely functioning idiots. I remember one teacher who told me he had to teach the others what they didn’t know and not me said, “Don’t sleep in my class. I’m sorry I can’t get to where you are, but it’s rude to sleep in class. Read, do puzzles, draw, whatever, but don’t sleep.”

So i didn’t sleep in Coach “Doobies” advanced science class. To me, school was a waste of my f’ing time.

If a student can be an HONOR STUDENT and miss massive amounts of class then what is the problem? Quit holding the best and brightest back to your stupid low standards. We get tired of it. We understand that you will never be as smart as we are, but dammit, without a frontal lobotomy we will never be as stupid as YOU are. Quit punishing us for NOT being stupid.

Let the hater comments from the stupid people begin…….

Aquagirl

June 11th, 2012
5:01 pm

Here is the problem with web-fueled frenzies like the Tran case: People often respond to the simplest and most condensed version of the story.

Yes, like “Mom Kicked out of Graduation For Cheering.” Or “Six Year Old Handcuffed For Tantrum.”

I think a lot of people simply lack literacy and common sense. They don’t bother to read the story or even to think twice if maybe the person who called a news conference might have an axe to grind and is selectively editing their media-enabled rant.

Add that to the 24/7 news cycle, and overworked or sloppy reporters and the internet gets very, very angry.

Maureen Downey

June 11th, 2012
5:01 pm

@Dr. Henson, My question is where is the responsibility of the parents rests in this case. I also wonder if the student’s poor attendance wasn’t due to emotional issues over the family challenges.
I did read that the student was asked why she didn’t consider online or home school options to better accommodate her schedule. The article said that she wanted to remain at her high school so she could graduate in the top 10 percent of her class, as her older brother did.
Maureen

Dr. Monica Henson

June 11th, 2012
5:07 pm

Fred, what if you had been able to “flip” your classes and do the work on your own, consulting with the teachers for help as/if needed, and finished each when you actually mastered all the content? For example, with an August start date, you might have been able to complete science in October, English in December, etc. For the time that you were in the course, perhaps you might have reported to class once or twice a week for whole-class activities such as Socratic seminars, where you could have been a student facilitator to lead discussions. As an advanced student, you might also have been tapped to help come up with discussion board topics for other students who flipped their classes and did most of the work outside the classroom. Those who needed/wanted the seat time, and those who required more attention directly from the teacher, could have reported daily on a traditional schedule.

I bleieve that this is what needs to happen in high schools–mastery learning paced at the students’ varying paces, not herding kids by age cohorts into forced seat-time so that we can gauge how many adults to hire to oversee them for 40 weeks.

Dr. Monica Henson

June 11th, 2012
5:09 pm

Maureen, I agree that it’s desirable if possible to secure parental support. For many kids (way more than the general public realizes), parents are simply not in the picture, or if they are, they are largely absent, as this young woman’s father was, due to working in another city. Her desire to graduate with her class from her school is not surprising to me at all. Many, if not most dropouts who return to school through alternate programs express a strong desire to graduate from their “home” school if possible. (It’s the call of the district and school whether they are allowed to do so.)

Gothcha

June 11th, 2012
5:11 pm

As usual, ignoring Clark Howard was the best thing to do.

Dr. Monica Henson

June 11th, 2012
5:17 pm

I sincerely hope, but would not be surprised, if the district in question produced documentation that emails, phone calls, etc., to the parents had gone unanswered, and a certified letter had been returned undelivered, leading to the referral to the court. All CYA tactics, but none that directly address the student in a human connnection with a caring adult to find out what was going on. As a school administrator, I have dealt with similar situations over the years. I’d exercise my power to waive the seat time requirement in this type of situation, and I’d ensure that the guidance counselor or a teacher the student favored kept close watch and kept me posted on her progress. If this had been in my school, I’d do exactly that, and then I’d go to the teachers and ask the hard question: “If your instruction and class time is so valuable, then how can this student earn such high grades while missing more than 100 days of your class?” In Georgia, we have the ability to grant mastery learning credits under the law, incidentally, rendering the seat time issue moot.

Maureen Downey

June 11th, 2012
5:18 pm

@Aqua. You also have to add the legal constraints on what schools can and can’t say about a student. Most stories about school controversies at the individual student level emerge either legal filings or through parents. Schools cannot say much about students so it is often difficult to figure out what really happened.
Maureen

bootney farnsworth

June 11th, 2012
5:21 pm

everybody is at fault here.

1st, its STUPID, STUPID, STUPID to make a law mandating x many days of school. damn nanny state.
2nd- where the hell are her parents? if anyone should be in jail, its them. especially her mom.
3rd.-what ails her brother? if he can’t afford T&M on his own/loans ect, go somewhere closer to home. his sister should not be having to help support him. man up and do the right thing.
4th why didn’t the counselor know about this if she was that absent, that tardy, that often?

this whole sad, stupid affair is less a comment on Houston schools than it is on how pathetic a nation we’ve become

crankee-yankee

June 11th, 2012
5:23 pm

Dr. Monica Henson
June 11th, 2012
4:54 pm

Note: the courts were contacted more than once and due to the state LAW that said they had to in this type situation.
I would not point fingers at the school, they followed a prescribed procedure as enacted by the state legislature.

The real question is why is that law on the books?

Perhaps, as in Georgia, some districts/schools did not exercise common sense in cases such as these and there was a political backlash due to some student who graduated (or not) with an incredible number of absences and/or tardies.

Legislatures being what they are, someone determined “there ought to be a law” and so it came to be.

It was not long ago that certain districts in GA placed football prowess above all else to the point of insanity which resulted in laws governing scholastic athletics.

Unfortunately, once a law is enacted, it seems to stick around forever and can negatively impact a district’s flexibility in dealing with situations such as this via another law, the law of “unintended consequences.”

That is what this sounds like to me.

bootney farnsworth

June 11th, 2012
5:25 pm

its stupid to mandate x many days of education, or to be so damn rigid you punish a kid for helping out his/her family.

removal of these stupid compulsory attendance requirements will solve many issues in education

bootney farnsworth

June 11th, 2012
5:27 pm

if Dian were Dave, and the starting wide receiver, this would never had been an issue.

crankee-yankee

June 11th, 2012
5:32 pm

bootney farnsworth
June 11th, 2012
5:27 pm

Very possible, have you read “Saturday Night Lights?”

But that is another can of worms…

Bob

June 11th, 2012
5:44 pm

Where are her parents in all of this?!? Why do they feel like she has to work two jobs and supporting her siblings all while going to school? Why can’t her parents support her? The parents’ job is to move heaven and earth to make sure their children are ready for school. It is not any easy job. It may seem to be impossible for some people but that is what a good parent does.

bootney farnsworth

June 11th, 2012
5:51 pm

the more I think about this, the more pissed I am with the brother.
things as they are, he should haul his worthless butt back to Houston and help his family.

or at the very least get off their dole.

simple way of getting a nearly free education: go visit your local recruiter. do your job, learn some practical skills, get a leg up on nearly everybody in the job market, and earn the lowest possible cost education.

but somebody who would let his YOUNGER sister struggle to keep him in college probably won’t
get the larger point of military service

bootney farnsworth

June 11th, 2012
5:54 pm

@ crankee

I’ve been here almost all my life. I played football pop warner thru HS and seen if firsthand.

I love football, but am more convinced than ever it needs to be de-coupled from education.
more and more the two are becoming counter intutitve

3schoolkids

June 11th, 2012
6:07 pm

Texas has several free online public school options and I’m sure if this student wanted some kind of accelerated education she could have done it. It seems she did not have the kind of support at home that she needed. At our local school she would have been referred to the social worker after the 10th day, it is a shame she did not receive the assistance she needed from her school or her family.

@Fred: There are so many options for “advanced” learners today, they do not have to sit amongst the riffraff. As long as they are willing to give up their top class rank or potential Valedictorian/Salutatorian status, they could complete their schooling in record time and move on. Some decide that their status, even compared to the riffraff, is more important to them and stay.

Hillbilly D

June 11th, 2012
6:24 pm

3schoolkids

Even back in my day, close to 40 years ago, I graduated 6 months early from a public school, right here in Georgia.

Maureen Downey

June 11th, 2012
6:31 pm

@hillybill, When my son graduated Decatur High three years ago, he had a talented classmate who finished her classes in December. And she went onto Yale in the fall.
Maureen

William Casey

June 11th, 2012
6:38 pm

@BOOTNEY: Bravo on your “de-coupling athletics from education” statement. I coached high school sports for 20+ years in Georgia and came to believe that sports should be “club” in nature. Perhaps the clubs should be “associated” with a school district for competitive reasons but otherwise divorced. No teachers pushed to be coaches or vice versa. No pep rallies. No phony grades.

Hillbilly D

June 11th, 2012
6:46 pm

Maureen

Back then, we were on the three semester system (think that’s what it was called) and at that time, the only senior year requirement was English, if you already had all your other credits from previous years. We (I wasn’t the only one) took all three semesters of English in the one semester. Some folks went to summer school and achieved the same thing but I never went to summer school.

I also had a cousin who was very smart. In grammar school, they wanted her to skip 2 grades but her parents decided against it. So, there have been ways that people have been accommodated for quite a while, if they were far ahead of the class.

My great grandpa had a friend who graduated from college at either 14 or 15 years old, I forget which. He went on to be a professor..

Ron F.

June 11th, 2012
6:47 pm

Would we be having this debate if the child were an average learner failing classes? I understand the concern for a hard-working honors level child who obviously has family issues, but should she be an exception to the rule? I don’t think so. I think the school and courts should be working with her to find help with domestic issues since her parents have basically left her on her own. There is help available, but she needs assistance finding it. I wish her the best, but I truly believe if it takes going to court to bring out the issues so they can be dealt with, then that’s what we need to do. A lot of kids need help and proudly endure their circumstances silently. It’s sad it had to get to this extreme, but hopefully she’ll get some help now.

bootney farnsworth

June 11th, 2012
6:51 pm

@ william,

I like the idea of a community club based on school districts. the club can either pay for the right to use the school name/mascot, or provide in kind service of some sort. I don’t even mind pep rallies and even letting kids out a bit early on gameday.

but when I see educators getting laid off/furloughed/ect and at the same time watch the coaching
staff at UGA get raises….

something is seriously wrong here

Bernie

June 11th, 2012
7:37 pm

I reluctanly agree with you Maureen but you are right! :) Clark’s expertise is in consumer affairs, he is need of further schooling when it comes to Educational issues for sure.

TimeOut

June 11th, 2012
8:17 pm

Attendance counts or it doesn’t count. Students who cannot attend for good cause should have the opportunity to withdraw and re=enroll when able to attend, provided that they can do so in time to graduate by the cutoff age, which I believe, is 21

Dr. Monica Henson

June 11th, 2012
8:26 pm

TimeOut, why do you believe that attendance is necessary? Clearly the student in question was able to earn the grades without attending. It’s illogical to require attendance when it’s possible to attain mastery without it. Please explain your thinking.

(I’m not against kids attending school–what I’m against is making physical presence in a classroom for an arbitrary number of hours mandatory without a compelling reason to do so.)

Laurie

June 11th, 2012
8:37 pm

So many miss the most important issue here, but thank goodness, a couple of (very different posters) get it:

“then I’d go to the teachers and ask the hard question: ‘If your instruction and class time is so valuable, then how can this student earn such high grades while missing more than 100 days of your class?’”

Exactly.

Except that the question should be asked of the whole school system, not just the teachers (who may not have that much ability to differentiate instruction, depending…)

The school and school system should be blushing about their apparent inability to provide educational value to this child, or at least to give her her time’s worth. (But I actually think the teachers deserve some credit for not taking that out on her; a lot of teachers would have found a way to lower her grades as punishment for her failure to need them.) She should be forced to give up one of the most well-documented requirements for learning (adequate sleep), at minimum, only when the school can show that it’s providing value.

Laurie

June 11th, 2012
8:38 pm

“In Georgia, we have the ability to grant mastery learning credits under the law, incidentally, rendering the seat time issue moot.”

Dr. Henson, could you explain further?

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

June 11th, 2012
8:46 pm

Although I agree with the idea that “mandatory” attendance for high achieving students seems short sighted if they are able to keep up with class assignments regardless, there are consequences to getting rid of mandatory attendance rules that need to be considered as well. Not all students who miss class can easily make up the work. Some students are not good independent workers, so you cannot just give them the assignments and have students complete the work on their own time. Instead, time often needs to be set aside during class. The burden falls upon teachers to provide the make-up assignments and accommodations for those who miss a great deal of school. Many districts discourage teachers from failing any student, so teachers must provide repeated opportunities for “reteaching” and “retesting” – all while trying to continue to teach current curriculum. So unless there are going to be different rules for different performing students, I am not sure how repealing attendance rules would work without putting an even greater burden on teachers.

Crankee-Yankee's Daughter

June 11th, 2012
9:18 pm

“Fair” and “equal” do not necessarily mean “the same”. Sadly, too many people do not understand this. If I were to have a student who learns at an accelerated pace and can do good work independently, I would have absolutely no problem sending work home and not requiring the student to attend class every day. I would like to point out, few of my students would be able to do that, but most parents/students believe they could. If my school/the state were to allow some sort of “attend as needed” program, I am willing to bet anything that parents would have a field day: “But Johnny doesn’t have to come to school every day, why does my Sammy have to come?” Give me the freedom as the expert in the classroom to give your student what he/she needs to be successful. This may mean your student needs to come in once a week, or it may mean that he/she needs to come in every day. Please, make it easier for me to differentiate according to the needs of my students, and don’t yell at me when I do exactly that. Just because little Johnny can do quality work from home and master the skills doesn’t mean little Sammy can.

I would also like to point out that many systems have work programs (usually just for seniors). Students who have sufficient credits and perform well academically can leave school early or come in late so that they can work. Many schools also have duel-enrollment or “move on when ready” programs allowing students (again, usually seniors) to take college classes while finishing high school. Now, these programs are not the same as a “attend as needed” program, but at least they are something.

another comment

June 11th, 2012
9:52 pm

The reason she wanted to stay at her home school in Texas and graduate in the top 10% is that in Texas, the top 10% of every schools graduating class has a guaranteed entry into the top UT campus. IE. getting into University of GA or Georgia Tech.

My cousin, told me she made the mistake of sending her son to Catholic School in Houstin, where he just missed the 10% cut off. So he did not get into UT. If he had gone to the Public School or one of the Christian schools he would have made the 10% cut. Now her daughter is going to the Christian school, so she can make the top 10%.

crankee-yankee

June 11th, 2012
9:56 pm

This is beginning to sound like a classic case of arguing against a rule that works and is probably necessary for the large majority in order to address the few who may not need it.
I do not argue with the notion there are some who can work independently on their own time-line and successfully complete a course of study. I see a few each year, they can manage their time to complete their assignments by the deadlines despite external distractors. They could flourish under a system where they work at their own pace.
However, they are NOT the norm and since we are dealing with public education, we need to address the norm. Should we be able to make allowances for outliers? Absolutely. But our hands get tied by those who react to political pressures.

another comment

June 11th, 2012
10:01 pm

The whole 10 day thing is all do to the no child left behind law. Both my children have alot of illnesses, for which I spend alot of money taking them to the doctor. All of their excuses are excused, and I still get the anoying calls by the counslers. With my younger child the school nurse is always calling me to pick her up sick. So on one hand they want them sick, but on the other they call and say come pick them up.

Ron F.

June 11th, 2012
10:08 pm

Laurie: Her teachers are probably working with her to do work at home that she can’t get to school to do. I’ve done that when a kid I taught had financial problems at home and needed to work. It doesn’t diminish the importance of being in school, and doesn’t work for a kid who isn’t at a high academic level who can work independently. It would seem that this is a case where teachers are trying to be compassionate and help a kid who has legitimate family and financial problems.

Laurie

June 11th, 2012
10:59 pm

“I see a few each year, they can manage their time to complete their assignments by the deadlines despite external distractors. They could flourish under a system where they work at their own pace.
However, they are NOT the norm”

And then a year later, they are freshmen in college, and … ?

ScienceTeacher671

June 12th, 2012
6:27 am

It’s hard to say…the article says she was tardy or absent 100 or so times, but it doesn’t say how many tardies were involved, or how late she was.

chuck

June 12th, 2012
7:54 am

To those who asked how this girl could make good grades without attending class, my guess is that the teachers went out of their way to help this kid by taking late work, emailing assignments and helping her after class.

It amazes me that the first thing you all assumed was that the school did something wrong. The school has probably been busting its butt to make sure this young lady got an education. She was hard working, polite, and well-behaved. Most teachers would go to bat for this kid, because the rest of the time we have to deal with the smart mouthed little punks that YOU send us.

Phyllis Jordan

June 12th, 2012
8:57 am

What’s missng here is any involvement from community agencies that could have helped this girl before her case reached court. Many schools are approaching chronic absenteeism and truancy in a more holistic way: Figure out what’s going on with the student and then tap community nonprofit or social service agencies to help with their problems. Sometimes it’s something simple like needing an asthma inhaler. Sometimes it’s more complicated like these cases described here. Schools in a New York City pilot program are assigning mentors to every child missing 10 percent or more of the school year to help turn around absenteeism.The court should be the last resort. For more about this approach visit http://www.attendanceworks.org

PHLASH

June 12th, 2012
9:11 am

Not the first time I’ve heard Clark Howard slamming public schools. An interesting story might be an investigation into public figures (like CH) who are well-regarded for some expertise they carry, but who, because they were once students, think they know all that’s best for public schools. Howard drops comments implying his support of privatization of schools pretty often…

Frankie

June 12th, 2012
9:43 am

SO she did not explain herself in full to the judge….why didn’t the PRO BONO (make a name for myself) LAWYER do it for her.WHay weren’t the parents in the court room and f they were why did they nostep up and supprot her actions and further explain..
We givve to muchcredit to children even if they are 17 yoa…that does not make them an adult or prove that they are mature enough t handle the situation, hell her parents are not even mature enough to handle the situation. where are the other members of her family and why have they not stepped up to assist her in this matter…
It is not GENERATION X-Y-or Z that is FAILING it is the parents of today that are failing our children…
I hope all of this gets straightend out and she is able to concentrate on her school work and her parents a start acting like parents…OR PUT THEM IN JAIL FOR A COUPLE DAYS…

Privatize

June 12th, 2012
10:56 am

clark makes millions — people with millions can send their children to elite private schools and then criticize public schools. Simple.

Competitive

June 12th, 2012
11:53 am

Sounds like she needs to do online school, which is probably a good option for many others.

There's Always a Way...

June 12th, 2012
12:41 pm

There is already an organization to help students such as this and it is having MAJOR success right there in Texas. Many school districts are taking initiatives to recapture attendance and all the ADA revenue that comes with it. http://www.AimTruancy.com This program was already featured on CNN and CBS, many of the major districts in Texas are using them and are having excellent results. It is a shame that Ms. Tran was not enrolled into the program, they would have found out about her situation within the first week through the daily mentoring and campus/home visits.

Warrior Woman

June 12th, 2012
1:58 pm

@Maureen – You say, “The judge only took the extreme action of sentencing her to one night in jail because she had ignored the earlier court order.” The judge is still wrong.

Saying “Don’t be tardy again” without addressing the cause of the absences and tardies is like telling a child standing in the rain not to get wet without providing shelter or at least an umbrella. At the time of the first court visit, the judge should have taken appropriate action with Ms. Tran’s parents to ensure that her family responsibilities did not interfere with her schooling. The fact that her father is in the picture makes the failure to do so worse, not better, as it indicates the father finds the situation acceptable. The parents should have been the ones sent to jail.

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

June 12th, 2012
4:41 pm

Another consequence of such laws. Students do not attend, and it is the district that pays because somehow they are supposed to be able to force students into class.

“The Detroit News reports that DPS will lose about $4 million in state funds over the next four years because student attendance levels fell below 75 percent for 10 days during the 2010-11 school year.”

_Huffington Post

crankee-yankee

June 12th, 2012
4:54 pm

Laurie
June 11th, 2012
10:59 pm

Your point is?
They (they independent learners) will do just fine in college. The school system works at increasing an individual’s independence & work ethic.. For many, what they have been presented with does not kick in until their maturity level rises to a certain point, A few kids have it kick in while still in high school; more a semester or two into college; some, well, still waiting…
Why do you think more kids are taking 5 or 6 years to complete college? Because they are so mature & independent when they graduate HS?
Why does UGA sequester parents from their kids during freshman orientation & make the kids make their own decisions on course selections, etc.? They see a need to shock the kids into a more independent mode & not rely on mommy to help them make decisions. So no, the norm is not skewed toward kids being more independent, quite the opposite based on what I am observing.