Earlier this year we had this kind of thing from government:
“This Government is determined to get tough on truancy, and we have doubled the amount of funding to tackle the problem. An additional $4 million per year will help schools introduce stronger and more proactive measures to reduce truancy rates.”
The government became determined to get tough on truancy because the Ministry of Education released a report on truancy that had the following revelations:
- Kids wag school
- About the same as the last survey
- 18 year olds wag more than 12 year olds
- Friday is a popular day to wag
I’m glad we have people at the Ministry tied up with compiling this kind of stuff because it really is gold. Perhaps the Ministry of Labour could do similar research on workplaces. I wonder if that study would find that:
- People have sickies
- Friday is a good day for a sickie
- Or Monday
The second half of the truancy report has further illuminating information:
- Kids from low income areas wag
- Asians don’t wag, but Pacific Islanders and Maori do
- People wag heaps in Gisborne; not so much in Otago-Southland
Huh. It’s almost as if the truancy of some students is exacerbated by generational poverty and parental role models with negative educational experiences and low income jobs or welfare dependency. At least that’s what I would conclude from the report. Let’s see what policy the Government came up with to address this:
allowing more schools to use electronic attendance registers, enabling them to quickly identify casual truants before they become regular truants;
encouraging more schools to implement the Early Notification System, which automatically sends a text message to parents whose children are missing from school without explanation
Funny thing is that over the last couple of years our school has implemented both of these things. We do our rolls on the computer, and we send automated texts to the parents of students who are marked absent. What kind of impact has this had?
I think I could say that it has enabled the staff in our office to get more abuse. Sometimes the parents of hard core truants text abuse back, sometimes they telephone and leave abusive messages. Those that hang on to the same cellphone number for more than a month that is, because, of course, the whole system is predicated on the kind of parent who will give you reliable contact information, and will up date it, and will actually want to be contacted.
Problem: “truancy of some students is exacerbated by generational poverty and parental role models with negative educational experiences and low income jobs or welfare dependency”
Solution: Automated text system.
Still, it makes a good headline: “Getting Tough on Truancy.” Well, better than “Wasting Money on Pointless Text System Easier than Trying to Address Real Issues”, which I think we can all agree is a terrible headline.