Sunday, February 19, 2017

Not quite the typical Thursday

So here was my attendance rate from this previous Thursday.

1st:   4 absent for 85%
2nd:  8 absent for 71%
4th:   12 absent for 61%
5th:   12 absent for 60%
6th:   9 absent for 47%

With the exception of first period, that's not a normal day at the office.  For a standard weekday that butts up against the weekend you might see 3-4 absences in each class with sixth period pushing more.  But Thursday was an unusual day.  Let's see what was going down on the sixteenth day of February, 2017.

-Field Trip to Universal Technical Institute in Sacramento.
I have some serious issues with private vocational schools that promise job positions, especially those that when you search for them it brings up quarterly revenue results for shareholders.  This grabbed four kids.
-Long Term Vacation students.
If people are really serious about schools and formal education then parents might not want to pull kids out for multiple weeks for vacations.  In the Fall, it's hunting.  In December, it's Mexican families.  In February, it's cruises/trips to the tropics.  In the Spring it's college visitations and trips to Europe.  This year I've had a dozen students do this and it's not yet March.  This week there were four.
-Early four day weekenders.
We had Friday and Monday off for President's Day, thus making the weekend a full four days.  It is not surprising in the slightest that some students left for the longer weekend.  If you are somehow surprised by parents and students engaging in this behavior then you don't work in pubic education. 
-That other thing.  Wait, let me think......

Oh yeah, that.  

There is a good chance I lost quite a bit of my student population to a boycott that was related in part to education.  First of all, boycotting education is fundamental idiotic.  Boycotting public education is beyond idiotic since we are one of the institutions that doesn't discriminate based on immigration status.  I wrote the following on my Facebook page so students could view it. 
"Immigrants come to this country because they find opportunity. That opportunity revolves around the idea that labor is exchanged for a fair wage, and children have the potential to live better lives than their parents if they develop their human capital to a greater potential.
Immigrants come from around the world to attend schools in the United States; whether it's the children of Mexican migrant farm workers in at a high school in Salinas or the children of factory workers in Shenzhen with a child in the University of Kansas, there is a realization that this country still presents an opportunity that is unparalleled on planet Earth.
Students that boycott education on a day that protests restrictive immigration policy are defeating the purpose of Day Without An Immigrant. Boycotting people that seek to empower your abilities achieves little. You may be able to vent frustrations but it will be to a society that questions your motives anyway, thus the status quo remains. Learn and be empowered and suddenly society will listen because you are knowledgeable, they will follow because you are powerful, compassionate, and trusted. You won't simply shout into the air you will dictate policy in communities, states, industries, and countries.
Teachers planning to boycott their jobs should reconsider the message they send to immigrants seeking opportunity. What message do you send by telling students that seek a better life to stay home? What does your absence say about your own stance on the education system, on your own classroom that not being there to develop skills and knowledge is the primary objective? You prove the point that immigrants are important to the United States by leaving kids less empowered to improve their future livelihood? That's a questionable philosophy, one that easily confuses personal agenda and activism with actual empowerment."
A couple of my former students jumped in and said that activism was the only route that was going to work for the current state of the failed institutions in the United States.  Can't say that I agree, especially when you look at the activism that exists in my high school.  Let's say that the late day absences were from the protest.  I wonder how that massive presence worked out downtown?

That's a reporter for the local newspaper that confirmed what others found out about the protest; that it only contained about 20 or so people.  After viewing pictures of the event I can confirm that the overwhelming majority of my students were not part of the protest.  It was a day off for many students that cared nothing about the message or the education.  Oh, and there were teachers that were simply giddy about the absences being a symbol of resistance against Trump.  That's one idiotic symbol.
How was your Thursday?

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