09 December 2009

Truancy Sweeps

Not in question: education is important. Yay. Also not in question: I sure don't want bunches of unsupervised children hanging out around my neighbourhood. And likely these children ARE skipping classes and shouldn't be. But my question would be about the Constitutional rights of the PARENTS of the children who are carted off in a paddywagon, whether the kids are public-schooled or not. I also wonder about this "cooperation" between truancy officers, the cops and the schools. Does that not scare you a little bit? I'm *guessing* that a cell phone call to Mom might get a "truant" homeschooler out of trouble with the cops in Dayton as homeschoolers are actually registered with the schools in Ohio and they already have your info on file (shudder). And on a *somewhat* related note, our city and school district and local grocery store are working together on something called the "Mayor's Christmas Tree," which gives out presents and food to needy families. They've REALLY been pushing the older kids in public school to attend several events and bring canned goods and money for a "good cause." I am Scrooge in this house to the older children because I refuse to participate or give a dime. All recipients of these "free" gifts MUST have their children "enrolled in a (cityname) school" to receive help. IMO the help should go to the NEEDY families regardless of whether their children are enrolled in school. It is not the time or place to push your agenda while being "generous." Maybe I am pushing mine by not giving. I thank God that I am not in "need" of this kind of "help" this year... and while it's true most very financially needy families don't homeschool, I don't like this coersion.

6 comments:

  1. I just finished reading, for the second time, Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto. I'm sure you've probably heard of him.

    Among the many problems he notes in modern day "education", if it can even be called that, is that students are there who don't want to be there, and those running the schools, who are no more enthused about the students' presence either, are made to try and force feed them an education. To the detriment of the students who do want to be there.

    This is just another example of the state as parent. Because frankly, if an involved and engaged parent was on the case, he or she may have a student who would occasionally skip a class (kids will be kids in some cases), but there certainly wouldn't be any major truancy problem because properly administered discipline at home would see to it.

    I think I may have just made an argument for the other side, didn't?

    My intent was to agree with you.

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  2. Well, this may be overly Libertarian of me, but how is it the governments business if kids skip school? While I believe that a well educated populace benefits everyone, education should be under the purview of the parents, not LAW ENFORCEMENT, for crying out loud. And what, exactly, are they going to charge the kids with on the next offense? Are they really going to give people who skip school some kind of criminal record? Add in the cost of policing, setting up and administering some kind of court, and the trouble the kids will cause in school...the whole thing is ridiculous.

    I find myself agreeing with Terry - what good does it for anyone to force kids to go when they don't want to be there?

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  3. Terry, I totally agree that school should not be compulsory!! I keep thinking of how things went down for Elf. What to do when the public ed. system is abusive and you have no legal recourse to "opt" out of the whole thing? It is the poor that in fact suffer...

    I think of how bad things would be for Elf if I were legally unable to homeschool and it scares me.

    I'm not even sure that *education* should be compulsory. And I can say that while being perfectly happy with the services my other children are presently receiving in public school. I think we're agreeing here, actually... :]

    Deb, I *sorta* see where the government might feel that an education for all might be in its best interest. I can *sorta* see where having a charity school system might be a good idea, but then I think about the MEGA taxes paying for it and the compulsion. Yowie. But you do know that PARENTS can be fined or jailed -- or lose their children entirely -- if the kids aren't educated to the satisfaction of the state??

    I find that scary, as we all should. And I KNOW there are crummy parents out there, but I honest to gracious think rights outweigh the 'benefit' a child would receive from the compulsory schooling past early childhood. I've heard stories of how kids find that's their only "normal" life, at school... but then I think these kids' parents would happily send their children anyway for the free child care when they were little...

    Well, rambling some thoughts. :]

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  4. One of my major gripes with our high school is that the school gets to decide what is and is not an excused absence. If I deem it important to take my kid out of school or keep them home, then my reasons should not come into question. Period. I learned this unhappy fact during my oldest son's first year in high school when I gave him permission to go on a one week mission trip to LA shortly after Katrina. It didn't cross my mind that the school would give us a hard time about it. All but one teacher was all sympathetic and let him take the work with him (though after a terse email from me, she "bent"), but it still went on his record as unexcused. I was the Mom. I said it was okay so what was the problem? If I had it to do over again, I'd simply not bother to tell them and let him "be sick" for a week.

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  5. You don't like this coersion? But it's for your own good, just like everything else the current government is trying to shove down our throats.

    So just keep repeating, it's for my own good . . . it's for my own good . . it's for -

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  6. These kinds of laws overlook the obvious: if schools taught in meaningful ways, presented living ideas that inspired kids, that did not force-feed facts into their uncooperative brains because of some standard written by some bureaucrat, kids would want to go to school. I don't mean school has to be fun and dumbed down, but kids are just a number (their test score) and that is what the system obsesses over, not whether what is taught has meaning or value or truth or beauty . . .

    Off my soapbox . . .

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)