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house Bill H.R. 4220

Should Federal Education Funds be Used to Combat Chronic Absenteeism in K-12 Schools?

Argument in favor

Chronic absenteeism is a major challenge to students’ learning. Using federal education funds to keep students in class is valid and justifiable, and should yield meaningful returns for both schools and students.

jimK's Opinion
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11/02/2019
No child should be denied the opportunity to receive an education. If there are community, family or personal issues that keep our youth from taking advantage of educational opportunities, this program seems to pull most of the pertinent factors together to assure that all of our youth have that opportunity- in this case, by addressing those factors most likely to keep them from going to school. I’m not sure about the structure of the program but I certainly endorse it’s intent. Education of our youth is the key to our collective future and the more we can remove impediments to that goal, the better off we all will be.
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Monica's Opinion
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11/02/2019
There was a similar program in WV that used state education funds to send social workers to homes of children that missed school. The program has successful outcomes. It is worth replication.
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Pamela's Opinion
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11/02/2019
Use the money...but...I think you will find that serious cuts in social programs to help feed and house the poor contributes to absenteeism.
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Argument opposed

Teachers and school administrative staff (such as guidance counselors) should already be working with students and their families to address chronic absenteeism. Creating additional programs to address this issue would strain teachers’ and administrators’ already-tight schedules and impose additional responsibilities outside their primary job responsibilities.

Anita's Opinion
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11/02/2019
I taught public high school for 20 years, & I’m in the midst of my 17th year of teaching community college. Administrators need to address the absenteeism dilemma by eliminating the system of “excused” absences, & perception of total absences. Unless a student has a chronic illness (which could warrant online classes), 5 absences should be the maximum absences per 9 weeks grading period. The parent or guardian of every student who reaches maximum absences in a grading quarter should be called in for a conference. Failure to appear should be penalized. Such penalties are already on the books, but in 37 years, I have never seen them enforced. K-12, community colleges, & universities are ALL top-heavy with administration. These people need to organize & go to work. Teachers are already pushed to maximum capacity attempting to actually teach the curriculum while addressing all the issues parents & administrators SHOULD handle. The current system of “excused” absences is bleeding into the college & university systems where it does not matter why one is out. An absence is an absence. We cannot teach what we cannot see unless the student is in an online situation.
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B.R.'s Opinion
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11/02/2019
It appears we continue to redeploy the responsibility of the child's issues from the parents to others. Rather than another program, we should better communicate to the parents that help/aide/guidance are available at the school, but the initiation/request for help is their responsibility.
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Bwana's Opinion
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11/02/2019
Remember - "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." Maybe schools need to look at themselves and discover why students don't want to be there. I've shadowed my kids at our high school. I wouldn't want to be there. The learning environment is disruptive and chaotic. There are kids that are threatening and mean. Liability and regulations prevent teachers and admin from taking meaningful action. Classes are crowded yet school boards insist on spending the small discretionary money they have on "shiny things" instead of more teachers (iPads, Chromebooks, professional grade sports complexes, etc). It is time that tax money was available for alternative schools and vouchers so that public school would have some competition. Maybe that would "up their game."
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    No child should be denied the opportunity to receive an education. If there are community, family or personal issues that keep our youth from taking advantage of educational opportunities, this program seems to pull most of the pertinent factors together to assure that all of our youth have that opportunity- in this case, by addressing those factors most likely to keep them from going to school. I’m not sure about the structure of the program but I certainly endorse it’s intent. Education of our youth is the key to our collective future and the more we can remove impediments to that goal, the better off we all will be.
    Like (39)
    Follow
    Share
    I taught public high school for 20 years, & I’m in the midst of my 17th year of teaching community college. Administrators need to address the absenteeism dilemma by eliminating the system of “excused” absences, & perception of total absences. Unless a student has a chronic illness (which could warrant online classes), 5 absences should be the maximum absences per 9 weeks grading period. The parent or guardian of every student who reaches maximum absences in a grading quarter should be called in for a conference. Failure to appear should be penalized. Such penalties are already on the books, but in 37 years, I have never seen them enforced. K-12, community colleges, & universities are ALL top-heavy with administration. These people need to organize & go to work. Teachers are already pushed to maximum capacity attempting to actually teach the curriculum while addressing all the issues parents & administrators SHOULD handle. The current system of “excused” absences is bleeding into the college & university systems where it does not matter why one is out. An absence is an absence. We cannot teach what we cannot see unless the student is in an online situation.
    Like (40)
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    There was a similar program in WV that used state education funds to send social workers to homes of children that missed school. The program has successful outcomes. It is worth replication.
    Like (34)
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    Share
    Use the money...but...I think you will find that serious cuts in social programs to help feed and house the poor contributes to absenteeism.
    Like (16)
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    It appears we continue to redeploy the responsibility of the child's issues from the parents to others. Rather than another program, we should better communicate to the parents that help/aide/guidance are available at the school, but the initiation/request for help is their responsibility.
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    Remember - "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." Maybe schools need to look at themselves and discover why students don't want to be there. I've shadowed my kids at our high school. I wouldn't want to be there. The learning environment is disruptive and chaotic. There are kids that are threatening and mean. Liability and regulations prevent teachers and admin from taking meaningful action. Classes are crowded yet school boards insist on spending the small discretionary money they have on "shiny things" instead of more teachers (iPads, Chromebooks, professional grade sports complexes, etc). It is time that tax money was available for alternative schools and vouchers so that public school would have some competition. Maybe that would "up their game."
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    Hold the parents responsible, not the tax payers.
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    Test scores are dropping under this administration. Betsy DeVoss is breaking the law and refusing to follow court orders by demanding that students pay for loans to predatory profit colleges that help the rich scam decent Americans trying to get ahead . Individual #1 is god to many people so they just ignore it. I’m sure Don could use that money for his racist wall, or pocket it in another one of his scams he’s done all through his cheating life.
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    I agree that Federal dollars should be used to support chronic absenteeism in schools, however, as a former school principal I can tell you that putting all of the responsibility back on educators is an awful idea. I agree with everything in the bill, however, where it falls short is in the resource portion. For example, I had an inner-city, “at-risk” elementary school in Las Vegas...a very transient city. I had anywhere from 800-over 1000 children PreK-5th grade. I never had a full-time counselor...ever! The last year I worked, I had no counselor. The problem is that we do not have the manpower in our front office, counseling departments, truancy offices, the hours for teachers & administration, nor the state to state communication to be effective in combating chronic absenteeism.
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    No we keep throwing more money at education and it keeps getting worse. Get the federal government out and let the states manage their own schools.
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    For several decades, the bureaucrats who have been setting policy for our public school system have failed miserably and a generation is paying that price. The problem isn’t money, as more money pours in, results do not follow. It’s time to gut the Department of Education of these entrenched intransigent bureaucrats, end the horrid teacher’s union and start over. It’s for the children and the future of our nation.
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    lol... seriously? No one is currently even taking attendance. You have got to be kidding me. Yes, chronic absenteeism is an issue. Yes, funds need to be allocated to address chronic absenteeism But, right now...this isn’t even putting the cart before the horse... This is putting the damn cart on the interstate. https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/virus-forced-schools-online-students-follow-70205874 https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2020/03/12/absenteeism-driven-by-virus-could-trip-up.html https://www.future-ed.org/chronic-absenteeism-in-the-time-of-coronavirus/ https://www.attendanceworks.org/coronavirus-resources-for-educators/ https://www.educationdive.com/news/present-and-accounted-for-closures-create-attendance-challenges/574412/ https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2020/05/27/the-impact-of-covid-19-on-student-achievement-and-what-it-may-mean-for-educators/ Please for the sake of future COVID related policy... policy makers really need to read: Staying Grounded: 12 Principles For Transforming School Leader Effectiveness Paperback – April 22, 2020 by Dr. Michael J. Hynes (Author) From The Author Our children and adults within our schools need you to be at your absolute best. An educator who is constantly working toward “Staying Grounded” will be someone who is a strategic leader who leads within and amongst the levels of self, others, and the organization they serve. Leadership of self includes the responsibility of being self-aware and proactive in developing personal strengths. This is what the 12 Principles will provide for you if you have what it takes. I know you do! I’ve heard that leadership is never about wielding one’s authority, it’s about empowering people. This book is meant to take that concept many steps further. For years my wife Erin has asked me when I would write a book about my views about the future of our education system and school leadership. The two are inextricably linked together. I hope this book will provide you with everything you will ever need to make that come true for the child(ren) or school(s) you have the privilege of serving. My work as a superintendent of schools, Fulbright specialist, TEDx speaker and associate professor of education has allowed me to acquire some insightful viewpoints into our education system and the people who work within it. I've been fortunate to work with children beginning in Pre-K through teaching educators and administrators working toward their doctorates in education. In many cases, their education spans thirty plus years. ————— If nothing else hire Dr. Hynes as a consultant, he is on LinkedIn and I have found him to be a sincere, caring individual who genuinely puts the needs of students 1st. ———————- Editorial Review: Michael Hynes is one of America’s most respected educators. A celebrated teacher and visionary superintendent, he is driven by a deep conviction that education must address the whole child – mind, body and spirit – and that leaders and administrators have crucial roles on making sure it does. He knows exactly how taxing those roles can be and that, whatever the pressures, they have to be guided by humane principles and compassionate practice. Staying Grounded is a trove of ethical and practical wisdom for managing the system as it is and for leading the changes that are needed for all our children to flourish as they must." Sir Ken Robinson, Educator and New York Times Best Selling Author
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    If a child is missing that much school without a serious illness ( ex. Leukemia) then the parent should be required to undergo a background check and, upon passing it, to attend school with the student until attendance improves. Schools get stuck fixing this problem but parents should be the main ones fixing this.
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    Keep them in school. They may not know it, but it’s their only hope
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    Chronic absenteeism is usually due to poverty, alcoholism or another addiction, homelessness, among others. Yes, federal money should absolutely be used to help our children learn, but it shouldn’t come out of teacher’s pockets. They already pay more than they should to educate our youth, and don’t get paid nearly enough to do it.
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    Personal responsibility and parental responsibility! Put Biblical principles back in school!
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    Teachers are trained to teach. They are not trained social workers, medical professionals nor law enforcement. They also don’t have the schedule flexibility needed to do home visits. For example, if a parent works nights and needs the visit in the mornings, a teacher can’t go because they’re teaching. Please remove the clause about teachers doing the home visits and I’m all for this bill.
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    The federal funds, like SNAP and other programs are being cut by Trump. Those programs help k-12 schools, which help keep kid in school. Some kid, this is the only meal they get a day! After school activity need support not cuts. Drugs are part of the program with the parents, children grow up in this mess. Sometimes the children are more of an adult.
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    There is obviously a problem and this bill MAY be a means to address it in various ways. What I find lacking in the bill and which should be a requirement, is to identify existing programs that HAVE worked and to emulate them first before embarking on the hypothetical ones. After trying to emulate current programs, then and only then, carefully select untried measures rather utilize a shotgun approach.
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    If kids don't feel safe and engaged at school then they won't go. This would help with that.
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