Editorial: Cutting school absence is an important goal

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 30, 2003

It has always been important for parents to make sure their kids miss as little school as possible, but new guidelines set forth in the federal No Child Left Behind legislation are making it even more crucial.

If that’s not reason enough to maximize a student’s time in the classroom, consider that students who miss time in school are more likely to fall behind and struggle.

It’s something to think about as schools in the area get underway. Some school districts in Minnesota are starting to discourage families from taking vacations during the school year. They are taking the issue more seriously this year because the new federal laws grade schools on attendance and require especially high levels of attendance on days that tests are given. In this way, the No Child Left Behind law, often maligned by educators, is already having a positive effect.

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Family vacations aren’t the only problem. Students who skip school are ultimately a parent’s responsibility, and it’s an area in which all schools can improve.

Whatever the reason for the absence, the fact is that ensuring that kids are in school is the first step toward ensuring that they are learning what they should. That’s a goal everybody should be able to agree upon.