Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Unexcused Absence

That doesn't refer to me, though I have been gone for a while. I'm talking about the truancy epidemic among high school students that is sweeping the country.

Around 50 percent of kids drop of out school nationally, and that number is higher among black and Latino students. Lots of reasons for this, none of them simple, which makes solutions even more difficult. I try to address the dilemma in this week's column.
Meanwhile, here's a link to some useful information.

What do you think? We need some answers.


Anonymous Y. Torrance said...

Hi Annette:

I read with much interest your column in today's Philadelphia Inquirer. I totally agree with you. Attendance at school starts at home but so does everything else. Our children are our responsibility before they are anyone else's. They are not the responsibility of the police, the mayor, the church, the school, etc. When we finally realize this, perhaps we can teach our children to respect authority, play by the rules and do the right thing (as Spike Lee once said).

I am not a parent but a mentor and I can see firsthand what the lack of parental responsibiity and involvement in childrens' lives does, not just to the child but the entire community.

We need to stop making excuses and step up and do right by our children. Children don't want things, they want love and that doesn't cost anything.

12:54 PM  
Blogger Conaky said...

It would be so great if we could send our children to school from the age of five until the age of 18, have them receive the support and services they need to succeed and graduate. Alas, that is too often not the case. I'm not sure how effective it will be to send parents to prison, which will likely affect their job and ability to earn a living (a couple days "off" could cause a setback for many). There must be someone out there with winning, innovative ideas. I realize that not everyone learns the same way, nor does everyone fit into the traditional model. 14,830 absent students on a given day is a huge number; We must teach kids the value of an education. There are no easy answers. Thanks for bringing this to the forefront. You do us proud.

12:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think like with everything in life, it's a process to achieve a formula that works for the long term good of community/country.
I'm living since a while in Zurich, Switzerland. We also made a conscious decision to raise our child here as, although not perfect, the school system and many other aspects of this country work more towards the betterment of the future generation. For eg, school is so (rigidly) mandatory that if kids don't attend, parents are fined, if no written/oral excuse/consent has been presented before hand. Given that this has been implemented into the Swiss psyche for generations, "playing truancy" is not one of the issues within our school system.
The responsibility must start at home and us parents must be held accountable for too often valuing material wealth above our kids wellbeing. I say "hit us" (when applicable) where it hurts and that's in the pocket and make this national!


2:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did some quick searches and found NO information to support your statement that 'around fifty percent' of students drop out of school.

While drop out rates are higher in Philadelphia, the national average for all students is less than fifteen percent. Regardless of the number, it is critical to constantly find ways to graduate more students.

Also, your statement referring to what happened at Columbine High School is inflamatory and misleading. Two troubled, psychotic students went on a rampage; this was not an indictment of the entire school or community.

You have a good message, but you need to have your facts straight and not make sweeping generalizations or misleading statements.

7:12 AM  
Anonymous leVoice said...

I'm working on this problem first hand and although no expert (who truly is?) I will say this for certain: this is a new time an age, we who want to best for children are up against incredible odds; ipods, gameboys, mtv,bet,videogames, non-stop comercials on tv, cable and movie theaters, personal pc's, laptops and more. Bottom line we are competing for our children's attention 24hrs a day non-stop and all of these deterents are very creative and colorful. Teachers must now be just as creative and colorful. The parents we all remember as the norm do not exist anymore. they are younger and less expereiced and less prepared. the image of the educated student took a hit years ago and was looked upon as nerdy...not cool, to say the lest. We must now flip the script and make being educated, being, hip, what's up! Not just the right thing to do because that is obviosly not working. If Diddy, Paris,50cent,or any other of their icons were flaunting high I.Q's as well as Bling! Ours kids would be running to class. If Bill Gates dressed like Jay-Z and his Wife looked like Beyonce' whew! I know it sounds silly to many of you but believe me, first hand knowledge from hands on experience tells me this is what we have to do. Oprah told the truth! And the truth hurts! And one last thing. The people who need to hear this are not logging on to a blog. So I know I'm either preaching to the choir or debating this with other "intellectuals". Think about it.

11:09 AM  
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