The Job of the School

As I was driving to work this morning NPR reported that there may be some new legislation coming down the pike for our education system.  It seems that poor attendance is running rampant in Oregon.  I think the statistic was that 93,000 school children are chronically absent (that is they miss 10% or more days during a school year).

So, here is the legislature’s idea as to why this is such an issue.  Schools are not doing enough!  They want to make new rules that schools need to follow to combat this growing problem.  Schools need to hold children accountable for being at school and I am sure some kind of consequence will be tied to this new requirement.  Maybe it will be reported to the public which schools are not getting their students’ attendance up.  Or possibly they will be financially penalized.  Who knows… I can’t wait to find out!

Here is my question:  Why are the schools responsible for getting kids to school every day?  This is a no brain-er… it is the parents who hold this responsibility. End of story.

When families value education, when they make sure they get their children  to bed on time, wake them up in the morning, feed them breakfast and get them to school… they will be at school.  Yes, occasionally our principal has driven out to a child’s home and picked them up.  Yes, there have been times that certified letters get sent home telling about how there is a law about skipping school.  Yes, there have even been times when our local resource officer has made a visit to a family’s home.

It is crazy to think that now this too is part of the school’s responsibility… We already feed children breakfast, lunch and snacks.  We wipe noses and teach children how to be kind.  We get them new shoes and backpacks as we try to teach academics.  We are asking schools to be the parents as well as the teachers.  Of course, most parents are doing what they need to do… they are raising wonderful children… but 93,000 Oregon children somehow are not in a situation where the family insists they go to school… so is there something wrong with the school or with the family.  If you don’t want more government in your lives then it is time to take the responsibility and put it where it belong.  This is not a school issue… this is a family issue.

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