Sample Response to Editorial
Should an entire class of students be hindered in their learning if one of their classmates decides to have a day off school? I think not, and the majority of parents and students would believe the same. However in her 12/2/2013 article about the government’s Truancy Penalty Susie O’Brien would have you believe that missing a few days of school really isn’t that big of a deal and that really the parents should be the ones deciding what’s best for their child not the state government. Her general ignorance and inability to look beyond the superficial has surprised me and I hope has surprised many other readers as well. But just in case you didn’t, I feel it is my responsibility as a hardworking student to enlighten you as why we cannot afford to have any more people thinking the same way as Ms O’Brien. First of all she states that by allowing a child to miss a day of school it can actually benefit the child. I hope you find the rather amusing because I sure do. Missing a day of school for whatever reason can never benefit a child this is because he will now be one day behind in terms of learning then the rest of his class and because of this we either have one of two outcomes.
Either the child has to catch-up with the studies in his own time or the rest of the class has to wait for him to catch-up. In the fast paced and progressive environment of school education isn’t it safe to assume that the child will have to spend the same amount of time outside of school catching up with the rest as he would have if he attended school? This is severely detrimental the psychological wellbeing of the child as well as his ability to learn, as he now has to spend time outside of school completing homework for the current school day as well as the homework and classwork of the day he missed. Surely putting this much pressure on a student is unreasonable and would understandably cause the child a fair amount of unnecessary stress. Furthermore is it fair to say that the child will be able to absorb the information of two days of education in one and expect there to be no difference in how well he retains said information? I think not. Now if I haven’t already convinced you of the detrimental effects of missing a day of school. University of Virginia researcher Sarah Hastedt has discovered that 10 days of schools closure reduced math and reading performance on the Virginia Standards of Learning exams by 0.2 standard deviations.
So one can only imagine what would happen to your child if they skipped a full term just as you hope to do Ms O’Brien. As for having time off school to act as a reward for working hard and to relax, I believe that is what most of us believe school holidays are for. But shouldn’t it be the parent’s decision whether or not they choose to put large amounts of unnecessary stress on their child and hinder his or her learning? Susie says it is A-Okay. However even if we assume that it’s okay, their decision is affecting the learning of other students in their child’s class. For example the teacher of said class would no doubt have to explain to the child who missed a day of school what work he has missed as well as try to teach him how to complete the tasks missed, to give the poor child even a shred of hope in catching up with the rest of the class. At this point ladies and gentlemen I ask you to think about where the government has jurisdiction to intervene with the actions of its people, this just cause being when the actions of one person or individual affects the wellbeing or freedom of those around them. In this case the rest of the class, so Susie the country doesn’t revolve around you and what you think is best for your child.
So do excuse the government for not ‘leaving you alone’ when they simply are trying to protect the wellbeing of those around you and your child. So I will conclude by addressing the only interesting and probably the only moderately thought through point you have made in your article, that students don’t do much in the last few days of school before holidays. This is very true, but pulling them out of school to have an early holiday isn’t the solution. Instead we should make sure that in these last few days of school students are still receiving and education rather than just mucking around.