An article in The Boston Globe details how one school district is “expanding a program that requires the parents of chronically truant public school students to appear before a probate judge.” Apparently, the program cut unexscused absences from 1072 (September through January) to 87 (February through June). The judge has the power to require any of the following of parents and students:
- extra tutoring,
- parenting classes,
- drug rehabilitation, and
- even have guardianship challenged.
One parent called the program a “wake-up call.” Well, thank goodness is all I can say to that. I can’t believe that a child’s attendance in school would be anything but a paramount concern to a parent.
I do like seeing the parent held responsible for young children’s attendance. I don’t know that this would necessarily work at the high school level, but I like the attempt. I’ve always maintained that education is a social issue, and this policy seems to reinforce and validate that perspective.
A friend of mine who retired recently used to advocate for a program like the one above as well as charging families when a high school student must repeat a course. We figured that in my department alone, 1.5 teachers were need just for students repeating classes. Building-wide it must be quite a number of students resulting in quite an expenditure for the district. Again, I’m not sure this is a solution but an interesting premise nevertheless.