Missing the point on truancy

Posted on 05/01/2007 in misc

This Washington Post article shows that school officials completely and totally miss the point when it comes to truancy. Truancy is a symptom, not a problem. Hiring more enforcement personnel and spending more time and money dragging kids back to school does nothing to address the problem. School is not working for these kids. The solution is to understand why, or to provide alternatives to being shackled to a desk all day.

(The real alternative is to do away with mandatory attendance laws - bur since that will never happen I'm working under the constraints of current law here)

If the kid hates school, more school is not solving the problem. The kid still hates school, he likely is still doing poorly, and he is a distraction that inhibits the kids that are at least trying to get something from their time stuck in school. If we are going to have public schools then we need alternatives for the subset of kids just won't succeed in that environment. Not everybody needs to read Shakespeare in school. For some kids, a couple hours on the 3 Rs and the rest of the day in an apprenticeship for a useful trade may be a far better use of time.

Of course, that can't happen when the federal government is dictating that every kid learn exactly the same stuff at the same time.

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