Waning attention to care could be part of chronic absenteeism problem

What is it?: Students who are chronically absent are classified as kids who have missed 15 or more days in a school year and they are at “serious” risk of falling behind. Overall, more than 20 percent of high school students are chronically absent as well as 14 percent of students in middle school. Chronic absence has jumped 28 percent  since covid.

Why is this happening?: Poverty, illness, lack of child care or supervision, and kids have gotten used to doing nothing and laziness is like a drug. When you figure out that your life can be easier or you just don’t have to go to school then you just won’t.

How can we fix it? This portion is going to mostly be my opinion because I am a chronically absent kid, and the main reason I don’t show up to school is because all we do is sit in a class and listen to some dude talk for about an hour and type on a computer. There is nothing engaging or entertaining about that. Plus, that’s just not how the human brain works when it comes to learning.

And I know we’re not in school to have fun, but I really can’t see why we can’t at least make the work engaging instead of mirroring a dead office job (which, let’s be real, is everybody’s nightmare). I personally won’t do something I don’t want to do/find no interest in to an uncontrollable extent (because I’ve gotten away with it for so long), and I have gotten away with doing nothing, and I mean nothing in 17 classes since I was in fourth grade.

And my family moves a lot, so I’ve been in four (maybe) different school districts, and they have all let me get away with leaving school, skipping classes, doing nothing in class, etc., so it’s not just district specific. It’s a genuine problem throughout America and probably other countries too.

None of that is to deflect the blame for my bad decisions. I knew what I was doing, and I take complete responsibility for my actions because there is nobody else to blame but me, but if literally any teacher would have had the balls to stop me or just tell me that I’m genuinely going down a path of failure or use their actual place of power over me to help I wouldn’t be where I am, and I’m sure there are plenty of kids who have had the same things happen to them.

And that’s not to say that no teachers have tried to help me because they have and that’s why I’m in school right now talking about what a massive issue chronic absence and a lack of academic engagement is. But the fact is enough teachers have just let me do whatever I want to the point where I was missing over half of my education.

Again, it’s still my fault, but you can’t let somebody do whatever they want with almost no consequences especially from a young age because that’s how murders and rapists are born (from a lack of being told no). 

And that’s another thing: how do you let a 15 year old or any kid just do whatever they want? Like how does that just slide? I know that it is technically my (and other kids) responsibility, but at the same time that’s like saying that a drug addict is solely responsible for their actions, and the company’s/drug dealers that produce the drug take no blame even though if there weren’t drugs on the street in the first place then there wouldn’t be any addicts.

Is this making any sense or am I grasping at straws? Either way the point is that there shouldn’t be teachers so neglectful of their jobs that they let children do whatever they feel like doing. You know what I mean? I’m not trying to paint teachers out to be the bad guys because they are not, but technically the kids at school and their education is in their care, and if kids are failing (which they are all over the country at an alarming rate) then that starts from the source or the teachers.

So I feel like the best way to fix this issue is to make education something that kids want to invest in or at least participate in. Which seriously isn’t hard because I remember when school was fun, which means it can be again. People just really have to care more.

Honestly I feel like one of the biggest issues we have today in society is that people just don’t care. People don’t care about each other or their responsibilities or obligations to each other whether it’s professional, general or just social, and I think a lot of that has to do with social media and the fact that we don’t have to face each other at a constant rate anymore, so it makes it easier to dehumanize other people or weaponize their ignorance toward other people just because they don’t want to have to help.

And people are also very addicted to this instant gratification that they get from social media, and that makes people not want to do difficult things anymore or things that they just don’t want to do, but you can’t just shirk your responsibilities because you don’t want to do it.

I know I sound a little corny right now, but we really do need each other; people need love and they need a sense of community.

I don’t know. I guess my point is we need to start seeing other people as human beings rather than obstacles we have to go through to get to the end of the day. You know what I mean; stop treating everybody like they’re a problem and just care.

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