By Erica Lee
The new district school attendance policy has faced mixed reviews by La Cañada students. Over nine absences per class for each semester can negatively affect one’s citizenship grades and bring consequences such as being marked by the state as a “chronic absentee.” College acceptance rates may also possibly be lowered because attendance rates affect school rankings. When colleges evaluate between two students who have identical GPA and test scores, they may choose the student from a school of a higher ranking because of its better academic performance. So then, what good can come from stricter attendance policies?
Although the harsher attendance policies may fail to bring up attendance rates and lower school rankings, they may be beneficial for solving critical problems with attendance rates in the long run. Students would be discouraged from absences, tardies, and truancies, hopefully spending more time learning in school. The state would also be able to clearly identify which communities are having problems with educating their students. For example, a community with low-income rates may have low attendance rates because of problems with parents being unable to give rides or to afford public transportation. The state, aware of such problems thanks to the attendance and socioeconomic trend reports per region, can intervene in school districts and attempt to implement solutions, such as providing school buses to those districts.
Students from less privileged communities may also be unable to attend school because of external dangers, including local criminals and gang threats. Having a stricter attendance policy would help the school, local government, and state government be more aware of the frequency of absences and their causes. Ideally, the authorities would be informed of possible threats to students’ safety and education and provide legal aid if needed.
If students are missing school because of a lack of interest, the stricter attendance policy would likely raise attendance rates due to harsher consequences. Education of future citizens of the country is essential, regardless of how much higher education students will pursue - any citizen can vote, after all. Ignorance and intolerance can be decreased by stronger, quality education. The attendance policy is one way to help accomplish this goal.
Increased attendance from harsher attendance policies can also directly benefit students, as the school receives funding from the state based on average daily attendance of students. If attendance rates increased, the school would potentially be able to have a wider and improved selection of classes, teachers, events, facilities, and so forth. So, even if the attendance policies may have been made to help solve problems in underprivileged communities, La Cañada students can still keep their school’s rank and contribute to its resources by showing up to school every day.
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