NORMAN — Q: We have a fourth-grader and a seventh-grader. We had planned to go on vacation the week before Christmas, and because of the school calendar, our kids will miss five days of school. Both schools are saying these days will count against them and they are in danger of not receiving grades for this semester because of excessive absences.
Are we wrong in thinking this is only elementary and middle school and doesn’t really “count” toward anything?
— Sandi, Newcastle
Yes, we believe you are wrong. Not only do students learn something every single day they are in school (even though they say they don’t), you are setting a precedence of school/education not really being important.
Habits are set early on, so when students reach the age of junior high/high school where credits count toward graduation, they still have the mindset that it’s OK to miss the allotted number of times. So much instruction is missed when kids aren’t in the classroom — for any length of time.
You didn’t say what district or how many other times this semester your children might have missed, but in any case, there also will be the possibility of semester testing and not just holiday parties. Attendance laws are made to be followed. Why is it fair for your kids to not have the days count against them when they’re on vacation but do count against a kid who might be sick and unable to afford to a doctor visit?
It’s a lot of extra work for a teacher to gather assignments early or grade them late. In most cases, the principal approves whether students can take tests early or if they’ll have to wait until everyone comes back after the break.