Should attendance be optional?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by LimaUniformNovemberAlpha, May 17, 2021.

  1. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    May 17, 2021

    You ever catch yourself feeling relieved when your most degenerate students skip off that day?

    You ever catch yourself wishing they'd skip off more often?

    I'd never tell them that, of course. That's not what the taxpayers are paying me to tell them.

    But it sounds so mutual. They want to skip off, I want them to skip off (well except maybe on test day so I don't need to make up an alternate test), yet we are told to stamp out any talk between them of skipping off.

    Why? Right now we have an education system that tries to balance the learning styles of dozens of students at a time. In elementary school the most gifted are excused from ordinary classes to get a head start in a more loosely supervised setting on the next year's content. But at no point do we stop and ask ourselves if the issue isn't that someone is unusually far ahead or behind, but just learns in an unusually atypical way that is neither ahead nor behind. If we provided them the resources to work with at home, and they could teach it to themselves better than we could teach it to them, what's the harm? If our tests or quizzes are adequate to gauge classroom learning, why wouldn't they be adequate to gauge a self-taught student's learning?

    I mean, even if my better students used this, I wouldn't have wanted to hold them in the classroom against their will.

    When lives were on the line, people weren't hesitant to take kids out of the classroom and do distance learning, despite complaining of "restrictions on freedom of movement" in every other context. So why are we restricting student's "freedom of movement" by requiring them to be in a particular place on weekdays?
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I agree with you to a point. There should and can be alternatives to the traditional school setting and timing. If students can learn independently and show mastery, that is fantastic! That being said, they do need to make an effort to check in on a regular basis and give updates, either by dropping in, contacting online, or dropping off assignments. Heck, I'll drive to a student's home to pick up work they've done and left on the front porch.
     
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  4. MrTempest

    MrTempest Companion

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    May 18, 2021

    As much as I agree with you on the "I want them to skip off" to mentality, we have to remember that part of education is understanding that kids make dumb and immature choices and it is up to us to help them make the right choices.
     
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  5. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    May 19, 2021

    Historically, teenagers were treated as adults and responded by acting like adults. We're the outliers for treating them like children. Are we to presume a modern voting public, biased against facing the fact that their sons and daughters are growing up, and wanting a few extra years to impose all their other biases on their and each other's sons and daughters, are right, and the rest of history is wrong?
     
  6. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Have you ever posted anything that didn't include something to do with voters?? You are obsessed with voters.
     
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  7. MrTempest

    MrTempest Companion

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    At what point in history, that is applicable to a discussion about modern public schooling, were students treated as adults?
     
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  8. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    May 21, 2021

    I think it is in the best interest of K-12 students for schools to require attendance. Possibly allowing high schoolers to leave campus if not in class is okay, but allowing them to skip class isn't helpful IMO.
     
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  9. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    May 21, 2021

    Attendance should be required even at a college level. It makes for accountability. You don't show up, you aren't learning.
     
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  10. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    May 23, 2021

    A school board can hire or fire a principal, but the voters can hire or fire the school board. They are the ones in charge, in just about any education system, except for those in dictatorships. And even then, some particular international schools are affiliated with first-world governments that ARE accountable to voters.

    Which brings me to how this relates to the "teenagers as children" vs. "teenagers as adults" aspect. Ancient Egyptians were known for marrying couples together in their teen years. Medieval Europeans were known for expecting teenagers to work. (Now we tell them "school is their job", even though being a cashier would be cotton candy compared to what they were expected to do back then.) As well, crass as it may sound, their biological similarity to adults, while no excuse for grooming of them by those years older (especially ones with authority over them) does suggest a role of adulthood for them for much of pre-history as well.

    If that isn't the threshold, what is? 16, when they can drive? 18, when they can vote? 19, when they can buy booze? If the threshold between childhood and adulthood were as objective as it were made out to be, why the different thresholds for different things?

    It is preposterous to think that we were right and most of history and likely much of pre-history were wrong. More likely, people's reluctance to let go of their infantilization of their sons and daughters and nieces and nephews has artificially stretched the threshold by a few years, and even adults with none of those four (who are outnumbered by those with at least one... for now) see in this an opportunity to impose THEIR priorities on everyone else's kids a few years longer. It's always a tradeoff between a few more workers in the workplace vs. more of them knowing their chemistry a little better.

    Why else do you think people who object to the characterizations of teenagers as adults so quickly resort to such Qanon-esque tactics as accusing those who tout it of being pedophiles? It's because logic isn't on their side and they know it.
     
  11. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    May 24, 2021

    I have to disagree with this statement. Generally it may be true, but I had many classes in college where I could learn everything or more from outside reading rather than listening to the professor "teach". I had more than a few of classes that were a waste of time because nothing was taught in class that wasn't already in assigned readings.
     
  12. MrTempest

    MrTempest Companion

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    May 24, 2021

    uhhhhhhhhhh????? bruh...... and you know most people at that time only lived to 35. Things change. Your statement adds no value to a discussion on education in modern times.
     
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  13. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    May 28, 2021

    ...seriously? You don't think "how we lived for most of evolution" would have shaped how our minds work, if only genetically?

    Because it's "how our minds work" that has the most relevance to whether it's more meaningful to infantilize teenagers or not. It's (usually) not even on behalf of the teenagers anyway, but of their parents, suggesting a role to the fact that the latter have a vote and the former do not.
     
  14. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    May 30, 2021

    Testing out should always be an option, especially at the college level. There is a use for well proctored, standardized testing. People don't have a universal style of learning academics. (Learning not to touch got pans is a different story :)) depending on the school and instructor quality, attendance can be a damaging waste of time.
     
  15. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    May 30, 2021

    The direction of this discussion has strayed a bit from the original question, and in doing so has become a bit more interesting. Starting off from letting "slackers" off the hook and away from more enthusiastic participants, it has morphed to the purpose of school.

    I am older and remember when high school included more trade classes, auto, wood, electronics, print shop (yeah - older). Some of these have been replaced with modern equivalents but, as budgets degrade, trade classes have starved. For the most part, those courses have been bumped up to community college level, or for profit trade schools. High schools have narrowed their focus more and more to college prep, pencil and paper; less costly, but serving fewer well. That leaves some students out completely, and ignores the advantages of more hands on education even for those that are college bound. That isn't a formula for the well being of that segment of the student population trapped in a mandatory set of courses that ignores their strengths. That is going to increase the number of "slackers" and troublemakers.

    Unfortunately, this is just a part of societal drift. It isn't schools or teachers directing some kind of change. It's so many things that add stress on people and every aspect of society, from schools, to jobs and work, and even the idea of having families and children in the first place.
     
  16. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    May 31, 2021

    Ok, so pretend attendance was optional. What are the students who are not going to school going to do with their time? If there's an alternative activity that is productive then fine. If they are just staying home watching Tik Tok videos then the answer is no, there should not be an optional attendance policy.
     
  17. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    Jun 5, 2021

    If the assessment proves they didn't learn the material, then the natural consequence of that is having to either retake the courses (if they can) or settle for jobs that don't require them to know the material. You've just weeded irresponsible people out of higher-stakes future jobs without forcing them to attend school against their will.

    If the assessment proves they DID learn the material, on their own time, what's the harm?
     
  18. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    This post is about "slackers" who are so because they are so behind.

    This statement seems to imply that irresponsibility is the sole reason for academic failure or academic resistance. I think it is much larger issue than that and can be very complex. It also changes from area to area. I do think there are irresponsible people, but I think most academic resistance is not irresponsibility.

    Most kids that resist school tend to be behind by upper grades. They rarely get what they need early on.

    Schools do a terrible job dealing with personality differences and how that impacts education and learning. So, if a child has a temperament where they shut down when things are hard or they don't understand, they end up, in many cases, not all, being left behind academically but passed along to the next grade where it is harder and it exacerbates the problem. By middle and high school, you have a major issue on your hands. Cutting them loose won't fix the problem, it just gets it out of your hair.

    In a compulsory education system that doesn't often account for academic struggle/emotional struggle, we love to blame the student for not fitting into the mold created for them.

    I also admit we have some major cultural problems when it comes to the importance of learning. I came from a poor family, but they valued education. They came from families who taught them the world owes them nothing. They wanted better for us than they had. So, we were taught early on that education and hard work is the key to a chance to have few struggles in life. But not everyone understands that, but we still have to teach those students, which can be an uphill battle. However, passing failing students along or indicating to them they are somehow inherently flawed because they didn't have the opportunity of a family that taught them the importance of hard work, causes a lot of issues.

    We, as a society, love to point to the underdog who somehow managed to defy the odds as the norm. If that person can do it, everyone can do it. There is a reason that person sticks out to everyone. They are unique.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2021
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  19. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    This post is about slackers who are not academically behind.
    Sure, let them test out of areas they excel in and take other courses or do other things with their time. No sense having them sit in classes they are not benefiting from.

    The biggest problem our society has with this process is what do you do with the 14-17 year old who has tested out of all required high school classes but is not considered an adult. Who is limited in job choice by many of the regulations in place or not being able to fit into the college structure if they want to pursue higher education. They aren't old enough to live on their own.
    We have moved to giving access to college instruction for many of these kids, but this is very area dependent. The numbers of students needing this is often not sufficient to provide advanced classes nor is the logistics and cost of transporting them to alternate locations possible.

    Educating masses is complex if you really want each individual to achieve their best.
     
  20. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    I have 3 older teens currently going thru the system.
    One is HIGHLY intelligent (35 ACT) and wanted to engulf any college bound material he could absorb.
    The other two are strong, intelligent students (28 and 30 ACT) but want NOTHING to do with college bound courses that they are forced to take. They want more trade courses. They completed Algebra 2 freshman year of HS but because the diploma requires 3 HS credits in math, they had to take more. They HATE that. Other students their same age will receive the same diploma and never complete Algebra 2 or probably even less. I am sure this happens in all subjects. IMO their should be a certain level obtained for the diploma. Then allow the learning of trades or higher learning for college bound. But keep these KIDS in HS not the real world yet. Clubs, band, sports, proms, activities, etc.
    THIS is why I believe we have slackers.
     
  21. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Attendance to task is a very important life skill. One of my high school friends was always a kid who would stay home if she was tired or felt not 100% or had something better to do. She has lost multiple jobs as an adult for trying to use the same view of attendance in the workplace.
     
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  22. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I do hear what you are saying, but I've known many kids who went to school every day that they were not "legally" sick and are having the same outcome. They had enough respect for their parents to go to school and even do ok in school, but when it came to doing without being forced, they just won't do the same for themselves.
     
  23. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    Does any of this make "coerce someone into attending school, to protect them from themselves" a legitimate solution? In what other context, if any, is it at all considered valid to protect people from "themselves"? Coronavirus lockdowns were about protecting people from each other and even the legitimacy of those was disputed.
     
  24. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Doesn't the answer depend from which perspective you are looking?
     
  25. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I've never understood states that don't consider high school level courses taken in middle school (or younger) as HS credit toward graduation.
     
  26. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    By the way, is it possible to take high school level english courses in middle school?
     
  27. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    It probably depends on the district and if the student is in-person or in a virtual school. However, one would think if districts are allowing students to be taking AP Lit or Lang or entering in Dual Enrollment English classes they are, by the nature of the courses being higher than high school level courses, indicating the student has met the minimum standards for high school English.
     
  28. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Yes. But, like math, students need to take a certain number of years rather than reach a certain proficiency. It's possible to take a ged or hiset to get a high school equivalency, but most of the time there are age requirements. So, a good part, the most important part (?) of k12 is getting to 17 or 18 years old. There is something wrong with that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2021
  29. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Yes. And math, science, foreign languages, band. However, it is not for high school credit in Wisconsin anyhow.

    So it only benefits those who are college bound in careers to earn college credit while in HS. It worked out FANTASTIC for my actuarial science major child because he received tons of AP math and credit. But what if he wanted to major in welding or lineman? He would have still had to take all that math unfortunately. And several in his class with the same diploma graduated with significantly less math. I am just baffled that there is not a minimum level reached.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2021
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  30. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    It's mind boggling. I assumed they were getting ahead on the requirements for graduation and thus could begin taking more courses of interest to them into future trades. If we knew this, I would have kept them in general math/english/science for GPA purposes. My oldest wanted the advanced. My younger two did not and wanted the hands on trades.
     
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  31. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Might not have worked out well. Boredom can take its toll over the years.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2021
  32. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Or it could have been the "just right" level of challenge for them to be highly successful in the courses where they mastered the material rather than just getting by.
     
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  33. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Could be. Open eyes, open mind. Tough stuff for ambitious students; tougher for ambitious parents. o_O
     
  34. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    I disagree. They would have put their efforts into courses that were their interests and hobbies.
    We learned this so much about them during COVID lockdown and hybrid school. My two did the basics to get by in general courses and then were off welding, fishing, woodworking, powerlifting with for their various clubs and organizations.
     
  35. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    I guess my overall point is that many of these kids that have attendance issues are not slackers. They simply do not want to learn this same material anymore. They want more hands on trades. I believe that many of them have enough math, english, science, foreign language, technology skills somewhere around the ages of 14-16 that they could remain in HS and continue with a trade education, or 2, or 3. My two sons had very solid ACT scores in all areas at age 16 yet their entire junior year (age 17) was taking classes to meet graduation diploma (2 electives).

    I think much of Tech school and HS could merge. Students could add courses to their diploma transcript that make them more employable. Students would still have clubs, sports, proms, plays, etc. Just begin preparing them using their interests.
     
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  36. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    I was thinking more about the actuarial one. Boosting a GPA may not be the most interesting activity, and I could see that backfiring. But I defer to those with more knowledge of the specific personalities. Absolutely!
    I totally agree with the time, rather than content driven requirements. And much more respect and attention should be paid to trade education. Frankly, trade type breadth requirements wouldn't be out of line.
     
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  37. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Don't know how I replied to myself with nothing to say. But I deleted it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2021

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