The State of Education on Long Island: Attendance​ Policies Aren’t Always Clearcut

By: Vanessa Parkes
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Monthly I’ll be stating my opinion on the state of education on Long Island, where you can guess who the biggest offenders of public school education are for yourself. We don't name names. We leave that up to you, the readers, to read between the lines and connect the dots!
The State of Education on Long Island: Attendance​ Policies Aren't Always Clearcut

Education is supposed to be the most noble of all professions. As the years have gone on, education has proven to be the most cut-throat profession of them all, and not just amongst the employees, but in general. The worst offense is how the educational system is used as a weapon against our students and parents. There are tons and tons of examples of offenses, however, they are almost always covered up by the school districts involved. There is a constant battle between the powers that be and the community which then leads to the failure of the most important component of the entire educational process, the student.

Let’s get into it! Allegedly, there are school leaders in more than one school district on Long Island that set our students up, allowing them to fail and underperform instead of helping them achieve. You may be asking yourself “who?” or “why?” Some of you may even be asking yourselves “HOW?” and that is the important question.

How are these school districts purposely failing our students? Here is how it’s done; One, Teachers misinform students of the absentee policy; two, administrators put students out of school on long suspensions then deny them entry back into school; three, guidance counselors push dropout paperwork for students to sign; four, school leaders use school law against unknowing parents that try to advocate for their kids. Let’s talk about attendance!

Would you believe that kids flunk out of high school for having poor attendance? This rule varies from district to district but is pretty much the same and it’s simple. Three lateness is an absence and 17 absences is a failure. However, no matter how simple this rule is some students still don’t understand. Common sense would tell the adult in the room to repeat the rule over and over again until each and every student gets it. Well, common sense isn’t so common. Students are told NOT to show up for class. Who is telling them this? Why would anyone tell a student not to show up to class?

“You don’t need this class, so you can go. Don’t worry about your attendance. I will cover for you!” These are some of the statements that some teachers allegedly tell students, and the students fall for it every time. After all, why not? What child passes up a chance to miss class, especially with permission from their teacher? The answer is a child that knows he or she is being set up to fail, that’s who. However, most students don’t realize that their attendance is a legal document and cannot be tampered with, so a teacher by law cannot mark you present if you are absent, therefore, no one can “cover” for you. High school seniors end up finding out that they do not have enough seat time in some of their classes to graduate due to poor attendance. It’s an unfair practice used against our children often. Rarely does anyone know the truth about these tactics, and oftentimes the child is blamed for “cutting class,” meanwhile the teacher is never questioned.

Parents should discuss the attendance policy often and let their children know to never cut class even when given “permission” by the teacher.

Vanessa Parkes

Vanessa Parkes

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