Thursday, 26 February 2009

Truancy gate

I received another comment that deserves to be turned into a post.

How about truancy-gate?

Sarah Palin's children miss out on a lot of their schooling. Judging by the volume of travel expenses claims, Sarah's own statement about spending time with them and the VP campaign, when the children were with her all the time, their school attendance is indeed poor. How does that fit in with current legislation?

Among other things, federal funding under No Child Left Behind can be put in peril for school districts with parents who do not comply with state truancy laws and do not permit the school district properly to account for minor children's extended absences.

In Alaska the compulsory attendance laws certainly apply to the governor's minor children. Failure to comply can endanger funding for other people's children:


Sec. 14.30.010. When attendance compulsory.

(a) Every child between seven and 16 years of age shall attend school at the public school in the district in which the child resides during each school term. Every parent, guardian or other person having the responsibility for or control of a child between seven and 16 years of age shall maintain the child in attendance at a public school in the district in which the child resides during the entire school term, except as provided in (b) of this section.

(b) This section does not apply if a child

(1) is provided an academic education comparable to that offered by the public schools in the area, either by

(A) attendance at a private school in which the teachers are certificated according to AS 14.20.020 ;
(B) tutoring by personnel certificated according to AS 14.20.020 ; or
(C) attendance at an educational program operated in compliance with AS 14.45.100 - 14.45.200 by a religious or other private school;

(2) attends a school operated by the federal government;

(3) has a physical or mental condition that a competent medical authority determines will make attendance impractical;

(4) is in the custody of a court or law enforcement authorities;

(5) is temporarily ill or injured;

(6) has been suspended or expelled under AS 14.03.160 or suspended or denied admittance under AS 14.30.045 ;

(7) resides more than two miles from either a public school or a route on which transportation is provided by the school authorities, except that this paragraph does not apply if the child resides within two miles of a federal or private school that the child is eligible and able to attend;

(8) is excused by action of the school board of the district at a regular meeting or by the district superintendent subject to approval by the school board of the district at the next regular meeting;

(9) has completed the 12th grade;

(10) is enrolled in

(A) a state boarding school established under AS 14.16; or
(B) a full-time program of correspondence study approved by the department; in those school districts providing an approved correspondence study program, a student may be enrolled either in the district correspondence program or in the centralized correspondence study program;

(11) is equally well-served by an educational experience approved by the school board as serving the child's educational interests despite an absence from school, and the request for excuse is made in writing by the child's parents or guardian and approved by the principal or administrator of the school that the child attends;

(12) is being educated in the child's home by a parent or legal guardian.

These are my own questions and thoughts about this issue:

Did a tutor travel with the Palins during the campaign? I would think not. Piper told Matt Lauer that she was finding it difficult to catch up with school work after the campaign was over.

Are they being educated at home by a parent? Naaah! Can you imagine being educated by Sarah or Todd? It could be possible, but only if the curriculum consisted of 1001 ways of dressing a moose, shooting wolves from a helicopter, driving a snowmobile or tending nets for catching fish.

I honestly can't see how any of the above apply to the Palins.

The only possible conclusion is that they do not place much value on formal education and don't care about the law. Their attitude to education jeopardizes the federal funding that could be available to provide for the children of other parents, who happen to value it.

One way or another, there are losers. And some would find it impossible to get these precious years and opportunities back.

Thanks for the information, Anonymous.


Lady Rose said...

Good catch - that definitely is a Palin-gate that needs more attention

Littl' Me said...

This was my point all along after I read the statement from Piper, finding it so difficult getting back into school (and THAT from a SECONDgrader! Can you imagine how difficult it must have been for Willow and Bristol [Ooops - I forgot, Bristol dropped out of highschool - oh, no! she did NOT drop out... Oh, HECK. WHATEVER!])

Emily said...

I always had the impression that the Palin children were homeschooled(something not uncommon among the Christian Right, who distrust public schools with their science and sex ed), and hence I was surprised when Palin referred to them as "back in school". This does deserve more attention, whether or not Sarah's "educating" her kids.

Helen said...

I'll be adding this one to my "-gates" and linking ~

Anonymous said...

When my daughter was in high school, I had to be to work early, which meant me leaving before the bus came. She failed to get up and get herself to school. I was taken to the magistrates due to her poor attendance. Yes, this is serious. Do you think they would do this to sarah?? Naaahhhh.

mdlw56 said...

I read early on that there were 4 nannies (yes, like one for every kid on stage, odd I know)and one private nurse flying with the campaign. But, I don't remember where I read it, or if it has merit.

sandra said...

One idea that Obama brought out in his address was that dropping out of school is unpatriotic. This is not only short-changing the student and the family but the nation.