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#1 of 21 Old 03-26-2013, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Our schools had standardized testing last week, and the last makeup day was today. My daughter made it through the first day of testing, then I was called to pick her up early as she was vomiting everywhere. She was sick with a stomach virus for a few days, then developed a respiratory infection and was out with a fever of 100.5 and higher that just wouldn't come down with anything. Today, the last makeup day, was the first day the fever came down, and she was even throwing up still last night. The school called, asking about her (I had been emailing the teachers and guidance counselor), asking how the rest of the family was, and if the rest of the family had gotten the resp. infection also. Then they told me for her not to get a 0 on the second day of testing, I have to have a handwritten note from an MD or NP (her "doctor" is a PA), with all these specific things to put in the letter. Is that crazy?

 

My poor child can't even be in the talent show she auditioned for and made, which is tonight. She is coughing too badly :( I feel so bad for her.

 

I am SO TIRED of having to worry about excuses when my kids are sick. Who takes kids to the doctor everytime they have a stomach virus? Or a cold? I did take her this time, bc I was scared she aspirated some vomit and had pneumonia(this resp infection was *that bad*, she has never been this sick in her 10 years of life). She did have "rattling in her lungs" but not pneumonia. I sorely miss homeschooling. This pushing them to go anyway and just try to make it through the day, it really sucks. I am seriously considering homeschooling again, only she enjoys school. This child has never been sick in her whole life as much has she has the past year. It's just her catching everything that goes around.


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#2 of 21 Old 03-26-2013, 04:41 PM
 
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That is awful...hug2.gif for your daughter.

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#3 of 21 Old 03-26-2013, 05:26 PM
 
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If this is her first year at school then it makes sense that she is sick a lot. Next year should be much better. Does a zero matter? Can you get the PA to right the note and see if they catch the lack of MD behind his name?
Our standardized tests are more a measure of what the teachers are teaching and aren't used against kids so a zero wouldn't be a big deal for a child who missed due to illness.
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#4 of 21 Old 03-27-2013, 04:37 AM
 
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The school is in a bind here. These tests have consequences for the district, and the attendance rate and how many of the kids that take the test are some of the things that really matters. A district here played fast and loose with attendance data and they've been on the front page of the paper for over a year because of it. The fall out has been ugly. Districts are going to be doing a lot of CYA on attendance now.

My approach has been to judge a school by the other 175 days of instruction, and hold my nose over the testing.
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#5 of 21 Old 03-27-2013, 05:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I did have the PA write the note yesterday afternoon, and he sat there and called and talked to the school, and he was acceptable. They'd never had to do this before(but it's a family practice/chiropractor and most kids see a pediatrician).

The school told me this would count against my daughter without a note...we get the results of the testing for our children. I understand what it means for the school, it is just so disappointing it's gotten to this point where it's about everything BUT the kids. The teachers care, but scores and attendance matters more. I know it's their job and pay on the line.

 

I did take my daughter to go watch the talent show, she wanted to go, and she enjoyed watching. It was so cute!!


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#6 of 21 Old 03-31-2013, 06:34 AM
 
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I am SO TIRED of having to worry about excuses when my kids are sick. Who takes kids to the doctor everytime they have a stomach virus? Or a cold? I did take her this time, bc I was scared she aspirated some vomit and had pneumonia(this resp infection was *that bad*, she has never been this sick in her 10 years of life). She did have "rattling in her lungs" but not pneumonia. I sorely miss homeschooling. This pushing them to go anyway and just try to make it through the day, it really sucks. I am seriously considering homeschooling again, only she enjoys school. This child has never been sick in her whole life as much has she has the past year. It's just her catching everything that goes around.

 

I dunno... if my kid were vomiting for nearly a week, etc.? I would likely take him/her to the doc to make sure there was nothing else going on. 

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#7 of 21 Old 03-31-2013, 07:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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She wasn't vomiting for a week, and the whole family had the virus. But do you go get doc excuses for all sick days? There have been so many days here and there, usually just one at a time but they add up and after a certain number, doc excuses are required to not fail.

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#8 of 21 Old 03-31-2013, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh and the vomiting at the end was from her coughing and gagging on the gallons of mucus...reading what I wrote looks like she was vomiting the whole week.

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#9 of 21 Old 03-31-2013, 10:44 AM
 
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If your daughter is bright, the school may "need" her test scores in order to pull up the average or the mean. Hence the pressure. Last year all 3 of my kids had chicken pox right around spring state testing. The schools were eager to get them all back to take those tests!
 


 
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#10 of 21 Old 03-31-2013, 11:20 AM
 
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Schools in the US have always seemed a little whacko to me with their "attendance" rules. In Canada I've never heard of any student being kicked out or otherwise reprimanded for being sick or missing school for any other reason.

I think it's crazy to expect someone with a stomach bug to go to the doctor every time, they can't give you anything for it, so why waste time and money when the child (or any patient) is just going to feel worse for going and possibly spread their illness everywhere they go?

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#11 of 21 Old 03-31-2013, 01:22 PM
 
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I agree, Escaping. As another Canadian I often find myself just shaking my head over some of these strange policies. But I think it has to do with funding being tied to "warm bodies in seats on a given day." I don't understand why money is being used this way. It doesn't cost less to educate children who are absent on a regular basis. If anything it creates additional teacher work to fill in the gaps, to investigate social issues underlying absences, to support learners who are not engaged by their current schooling. Schools and teachers already prefer students not to be truant. I think the wrong behaviour and the wrong party is being incentivized in this approach. I'd like to hear the Freakonomics crew's take on this odd system.

 

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#12 of 21 Old 03-31-2013, 02:32 PM
 
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My view on this has changed since I started working in a school. We have kids who miss school ALL the time who are behind and confused. They are also sometimes sad because they miss out on stuff. Honestly, it  IS hard on children to miss excessive amounts of school.

 

We also have parents who don't bother to call the school when their child is ill. One of our school employees spends a chunk of time everyday finding out if the children really stayed home, or went missing between their home and school (sadly, this recently happened because a child was playing and missed the bus, and was locked out of the house. If the school didn't check up on every child who isn't in school and isn't called in, she would have been alone in the world ALL DAY rather than being found by police about 1 and half into the school day.) But we have many, many children who are kept home by their parents each day and not called in. 

 

Standardized testing is heavily regulated in every state and attendance is a HUGE deal because in the past, some schools have cheated on the scores by encouraging children who would do poorly to just stay home. This is a political issue. Missing both the testing day AND the make up day is a big deal. I can see why the school *needed* a letter from the doctor -- its to cover their a$$, not punish you. They need to back up that your child was truly ill and not just instructed to miss testing.

 

Most kids do get sick a lot the first year they are in school -- she'll most likely be a lot healthier next year. There are things you can do to help, including making sure she knows how to really wash her hands and when to really wash them, help her learn to keep her hands away from her face, load her up on fruits and give her vit C supplements, etc.


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#13 of 21 Old 03-31-2013, 02:48 PM
 
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My view on this has changed since I started working in a school. We have kids who miss school ALL the time who are behind and confused. They are also sometimes sad because they miss out on stuff. Honestly, it  IS hard on children to miss excessive amounts of school.

 

We also have parents who don't bother to call the school when their child is ill. One of our school employees spends a chunk of time everyday finding out if the children really stayed home, or went missing between their home and school (sadly, this recently happened because a child was playing and missed the bus, and was locked out of the house. If the school didn't check up on every child who isn't in school and isn't called in, she would have been alone in the world ALL DAY rather than being found by police about 1 and half into the school day.) But we have many, many children who are kept home by their parents each day and not called in. 

 

Standardized testing is heavily regulated in every state and attendance is a HUGE deal because in the past, some schools have cheated on the scores by encouraging children who would do poorly to just stay home. This is a political issue. Missing both the testing day AND the make up day is a big deal. I can see why the school *needed* a letter from the doctor -- its to cover their a$$, not punish you. They need to back up that your child was truly ill and not just instructed to miss testing.

 

Most kids do get sick a lot the first year they are in school -- she'll most likely be a lot healthier next year. There are things you can do to help, including making sure she knows how to really wash her hands and when to really wash them, help her learn to keep her hands away from her face, load her up on fruits and give her vit C supplements, etc.

That explanation makes total sense, but I just meant absences in general. On another board I go on I hear pregnant teens who are all worried they'll get kicked out of school for absences or missing to many days to have their babies. Seems crazy to me. How does depriving someone of an education help them?

 

We also get a phone call if the child doesn't make it to school and the parent didn't call in, but any excuse will do, they don't even need to be sick, really. My parents even used to call in and tell the school we were going on vacation and that I'll be out for a week or two. 

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#14 of 21 Old 03-31-2013, 04:59 PM
 
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My view on this has changed since I started working in a school. We have kids who miss school ALL the time who are behind and confused. 

 

I get that. It's hard on everyone. You want kids to be at school if they're enrolled in school and healthy and happy to attend. And I understand why the school is tetchy about the standardized testing situation. They need to prove they're not "gaming the system" by asking low-performing kids to stay home on testing days. 

 

I still think financial incentives are being applied in precisely the wrong ways here. Schools performing poorly on standardized tests should get extra money -- to improve their scores and to give them the bells and whistles that will make them attractive to a full range of students from various backgrounds and levels of achievement. And schools and students struggling with unusually high levels of student absenteeism, whether legitimate or illegitimate, need more funding, not less in order to meet the needs of those kids. 

 

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#15 of 21 Old 03-31-2013, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have never even heard of calling the school to let them know your child won't be there! That's not normal in my area. I will email the teacher if it happens to drag to the second day being absent, and then send in a note on her return, but no one calls the school.

 

I *do* understand the school needing to cover their butts. Plus the principal called and explained that the 4th grade test scores influence what kind of placement the students will have in middle school so that's how this affects my daughter. She only missed one of two days of the writing part of the test, and in a few weeks they will have the math, science and social studies part of the testing.


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#16 of 21 Old 03-31-2013, 07:11 PM
 
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But do you go get doc excuses for all sick days? There have been so many days here and there, usually just one at a time but they add up and after a certain number, doc excuses are required to not fail.

 

I never did. But they were never really sick that often. The only reason we got close to the limit was due to mental health days...

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#17 of 21 Old 03-31-2013, 08:25 PM
 
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We are supposed to call when our kids won't be there.  If we don't call, they call us within an hour of school starting.  The reason is because if your kids walk or bus to school and they don't make it to class for some reason, they figure the parents would want to know!  It makes sense to me.  

 

OP I hope your DD is well soon.  I know they give our kids ample opportunity to retake the tests, I hope you are able to make them up.  I also agree I want to hold my nose during this part of the school year.  

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#18 of 21 Old 04-01-2013, 05:50 AM
 
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 Plus the principal called and explained that the 4th grade test scores influence what kind of placement the students will have in middle school so that's how this affects my daughter. 

 

You may want to investigate whether there is an appeal process for placements. It doesn't seem fair for her to miss an appropriate placement because she was ill on a few crucial days.

 

It seems that her performance over the course of a school year, a portfolio of work, teacher recommendations, even some psychoeducational assessments (IQ testing) should be considered, especially if she doesn't have standardized test scores due to something beyond her control like illness. 

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#19 of 21 Old 04-01-2013, 06:36 PM
 
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I think part of why absences count has to do with education being mandatory. All states include a right to education in their constitutions and i believe most have laws about education being mandatory after a certain age. Missing a lot of school interferes with a.child's ability to learn in many cases and that can be an infringement on their rights as a citizen of their state. I have seen a lot of posts that make it sound like many principles let attendance slide based on other factors like the child's ability to keep up with the class so i don't think the truancy laws are a bad thing..
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#20 of 21 Old 04-01-2013, 07:14 PM
 
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Missing a lot of school interferes with a.child's ability to learn in many cases and that can be an infringement on their rights as a citizen of their state. I have seen a lot of posts that make it sound like many principles let attendance slide based on other factors like the child's ability to keep up with the class so i don't think the truancy laws are a bad thing..

 

As a parent who has had children benefit greatly from her principal "letting attendance slide" I love that our truancy laws are enforced -- if at all -- only in very extreme cases. I have children who don't get behind and who miss school willingly, because they have more worthwhile things to do. Our school has been willing to modify their educational programs to allow for them to miss school regularly. During one year eldest dd missed alternate Thursdays and Fridays (for violin lessons), every Wednesday morning (for a part-time job), and two and a half months entirely (for overseas travel) as well as an hour every Tuesday (for youth choir, out of town). She did some coursework as self-paced independent study blocks, some work on-line during non-school hours, and was granted credits in lieu of arts courses for her music studies. It worked out very well for her, and the school loved supporting her unconventional educational path.

 

Truancy laws were created in an era when it was possible for parents to exploit their children's labour for economic gain. These days I think a law is rarely the appropriate tool for dealing with "excessive" absences. Generally I think the most appropriate tool is a modified educational program: independent study, computer-assisted or otherwise, alternative schooling, home-based education, virtual schooling, in-home tutoring, etc. etc. 

 

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#21 of 21 Old 04-01-2013, 07:38 PM
 
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We're supposed to call if our kids are going to be out, but we don't have to bring a doctor's note. We're supposed to send a note in when they go back to school, but it can be a parent's note. If I do take them to the doctor or dentist I ask for a note, but otherwise I don't make a special trip to the doctor just to get a note. My kids aren't sick very often and we don't go to the doctor very often either. 

 

I just read an article on HuffPo about opting out of testing in PA. I'm in NC and from my reading of the rules, I don't think we're allowed to opt out for any reason. Private schools can opt out, but all public school, charter school, and homeschool kids are required to test. I'm sure we could reschedule for illness, but I think they are required to take it, at least for certain years.


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