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Letter: Response to school absenteeism guest commentary

Feb 29, 2024

I am writing in response to the recent guest commentary regarding chronic absenteeism in schools. While I agree that chronic absenteeism is a pressing concern, I find the argument in favor of micro-schools to be misguided and overlooking the valuable services already provided by local public schools.

First and foremost, it is crucial to acknowledge that if there is any institution that provides students with an opportunity to find and develop their passions, it is our local public schools. Our public schools offer a wide range of programs and services from academic tutoring and counseling to athletics, dance, music, art, creative writing, journalism, engineering, coding, video game design, culinary arts, extracurricular activities, and special education programs, just to name a few!

A quick glance at a list of program offerings will make it obvious that Utah's public schools are anything but a one-size-fits-all approach to education.

Furthermore, the author's assertion that micro-schools are "magical places" that do not experience chronic absenteeism is ridiculous. While it may be true that some micro-schools may have lower absenteeism rates, it is not a universal truth. Absenteeism stems from a variety of factors, including personal and family circumstances, health issues, parental neglect, and socio-economic challenges. Simply changing the educational setting does not guarantee a resolution to these underlying issues.

Additionally, placing the blame solely on schools and advocating for a shift away from punitive measures ignores the shared responsibility of parents to ensure their children's education. While it is essential to address systemic barriers and provide support to families facing challenges, parental involvement and accountability play a crucial role in addressing chronic absenteeism. Instead of absolving parents of responsibility, we should strive for collaboration between schools, parents, and community stakeholders to tackle this issue comprehensively.

In conclusion, while the editorial rightly highlights the urgency of addressing chronic absenteeism, the proposed emphasis on micro-schools as a solution oversimplifies a complex issue. Rather than diverting resources towards alternative educational models, we should focus on strengthening and improving our existing public school system while fostering greater collaboration between schools, families, and communities.

Isaac Thomas



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