The Arizona Tribune

Arizona’s Curious Case of School Absenteeism

The United States has always been in the top slot if anything remotely is related to education. We have been performing really well in the case of elementary education all across the globe. But, the recent date of school absenteeism in Arizona will put you in confusion over the status of our education system.

Almost 18.6% of total 1million K-12 Arizonan kids are labeled as chronically absent from school. So, in one school year, we have 3 million missed days as far as the statistics go. With this Arizona has labeled itself in the top3 slot in absenteeism all over the country.

School education has much importance in any country’s future, as today’s kids are tomorrow’s citizens. School absenteeism will affect the national education status adversely. The absence in schools will also have an impact on the children’s adulthood. Days missed in school learning literature, maths and science can never be compensated.

It’s to be noted that Arizona’s school absenteeism is much more than the national average. As per a seventh-grade teacher, the absence in school among the Native Americans is usually higher than others that might have affected total Arizona’s percentage.

The worst case is in Baboquivari, a small district having around a thousand students. The reason of absence is acute poverty. The path to be covered to reach schools is such long that they never bother to do that. Even some students have no dependable parents to look after them and get them ready for school. In short, poverty, lack of awareness about the value of education are seemingly the main reasons behind the high level of absenteeism in schools.

Some really creative and decent approaches have been introduced by Edna Morris, Baboquivari’s superintendent over the years. She has urged the teachers to make the students feel safe, longed, and loved in the school premises. She has also introduced a demo class by the potential teacher in the whole process of recruitment so that she can judge how well a teacher can connect to the students.

She is not the only one fighting school absenteeism, recalling one incident when she had to provide mechanical alarms to wake the students up for school as there were power failures at the district that time. She along with another cadre of district employees repaired the roads so that no yellow school bus gets jammed in between the road dissuading the children to attend school.

Even with state laws, parents have been made responsible. Districts have variable norms of truancy. But, in case of long absence of the wards in school, his/her parents may have to face the court and face prosecution. So, the big part of encouragement to go to school may come from the home itself.

No tracking
Though Arizona has a huge problem of school absenteeism, it has no proper mechanism to track the numbers. Arizona has been constantly relying on the federal data. Now, it has become a vicious cycle. The school absenteeism has directly impacted the schools funding as well. The more you face the difficulties, the more you will be made to.

Role of Parents
The big factor in Arizona’s poor performance is parents. Parents play the most vital role in understanding the value of education and how it is going to affect their future. The parents need to be sensitized first, and then the onus should be transferred to school authorities. With the days ahead, we should expect more activity in this ground so that no child in Arizona misses a precious day of school learning.

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