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Submitted 9:28 p.m.
03.09.2015
Letter to the Editor

Under the current accountability system schools will continue to try to use punitive measures against parents for truancy. ”

Lana of Louisiana

I am a national board certified teacher and while I would never presume to speak for the profession, I could offer a perspective that I feel was neglected in this article.

Teachers, administrators and school districts are under intense pressure to increase student achievement and improve school performance scores. While I wholeheartedly believe that every teacher should be diligent in improving teaching and learning, we must be realistic and concede that some things are outside the ability of the school system. Truancy is an issue that I believe falls into this category.

Teachers must engage students, motivate students, and ultimately teach students. This can't be accomplished if students are chronically truant. You correctly stated that NCLB requires schools to report truancy data, but there ARE punishments for schools regarding truancy. The state of Louisiana deducts points from school's performance scores for every unexcused student absence. Therefore I know many districts have teamed up with prosecutors and judges to shift the accountability from schools to parents.

Under the current accountability system schools will continue to try to use punitive measures against parents for truancy. Schools often don't have the resources to implement programs that will approach this issue from the perspective of a social worker. We are teachers! If we had systems in place to support student attendance we would all be the better for it.

But we currently find ourselves in an untenable situation. Lacking resources to help students and families understand the importance of truancy, we reach for solutions that are mediocre at best. We are trying to shift the accountability to parents and off the school systems. Parents ultimately have the responsibility. Until common sense prevails this issue will get worse, not better.

 
These letters written in response to
Feature March 6, 2015
Skipping school is a problem. But why is it a crime?