One of the things that's sitting on my desk waiting for the AP Tests to end is the Attendance referrals: students who have been missing too much school.
"Too much" absence, I've found, is a subjective issue. The school has guidelines for attendance, with regard to tardies and both excused and unexcused absences; the District Attorney's office (which has waited a good ten years to finally get involved) believes that only unexcused absences count, and they won't deal with the 11th and 12th graders. I could go into why all of this makes sense, but the Internet isn't large enough for the explanation. Suffice to say that yes, I understand why the DA has this view, and I'm fine with that.
Here's what DOESN'T make sense: many of the students with excessive absences (excused and otherwise) are still getting perfectly decent--if not above average--grades. It would seem that the teachers themselves have their own set of criteria for attendance. In short, they have no problem having their classes treated as correspondence courses. I understand that the web is a handy tool for education, but I think there comes a point where an empty seat should mean something. I've been saying this for a while now, but few people seem to be listening. Are we trying to teach students that attendance and punctuality are important, or are we training an entire generation of future telecommuters? Has attendance stopped being a part of classroom management, or are grades now commensurate with bandwidth? It seems to me that if we really wanted to make attendance an issue, those who are too frequently absent would have report cards that suck. Otherwise, we should scrap the attendance policy altogether and install another T1 line.
Maybe we should webcast the graduation.