No, kids shouldn’t get excused absence to attend political events (Opinion)
An idea is being floated in the legislature that would add to the list of reasons a student could not show up for school and have it be an excused absence. And I don’t think it’s a great move.
Dino Flammia brought you the story last week.
In New Jersey students are already given excused absences for religious holidays, even minority ones, college touring, taking your driving road test, and even Take Your Child To Work Day.
Republican Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney is sponsoring a bill that would add to that list attending an organized civic event. It was passed by committee last year. This year it is expected to receive bipartisan support.
Should it though? Is this really necessary?
Rooney says yes.
“While it is important to keep up with studies and homework, students should also be encouraged to be active, engaged citizens in the world from a young age,” Rooney said in a press release.
Schools in New Jersey would be required to provide at least one excused absence for a student skipping school to attend a civic event but could allow more than if the school chose to.
So what exactly would this cover? Here’s how the legislation defines it:
The bill defines ‘civic event’ as an event sponsored by a government entity, a community-based organization, or a nonprofit organization that incorporates elements of service learning whereby students learn and develop through organized service. A civic event would also address an issue of public concern such as community health and safety or environmental, economic, or community well- being.
So community-based organizations and non-profit organizations. Will this include political rallies? Will this include Black Lives Matter protests? Protesting offshore wind farms?
I’m not a fan. There are only 180 school days in the year. We have too much already crammed onto teacher’s plates to cover, like “character education” which comes under the category of that’s-what-parents-are-for, to be having even more reasons for a child to miss class time.
The bill would cover students from 6th through 12th grades.
Feels to me like another case of politicians getting their names out there but not by solving the real problems in our state like school funding and property taxes.
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