Wednesday, December 29, 2010

California can now jail parents of truant kids

Effective next week, there is a new California truancy law:
Penal Code Section 270.1. (a) A parent or guardian of a pupil of six years of age or more who is in kindergarten or any of grades one to eight, inclusive, and who is subject to compulsory full-time education or compulsory continuation education, whose child is a chronic truant as defined in Section 48263.6 of the EC, who has failed to reasonably supervise and encourage the pupil's school attendance, and who has been offered language accessible support services to address the pupil's truancy, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
A year in jail seems excessive to me. Presumably the legislators will say that they did not intend for anyone to put in jail, but just want the authorities to have some very powerful intimidation tools. But this law is going to be selectively enforced by authorities with personal grudges. This is no law for a free society.

I mentioned this before, when the legislature passed it, and I just got this comment:
You people who think this law is ridiculous and are saying the school districts only want it for the money are silly. I teach in a large urban district and it is very difficult to teach an empty chair. Everyone complains about our low test scores yet how do I raise a child's score who is absent 1 or 2 days PER WEEK?? You people who are always blaming the teachers unions really don't even know the half of what goes on in these schools and how the parents are NEVER held responsible for half of this stuff. I have no control over this yet am held responsible. Absurd.
It is about the money. In my experience with the local public schools, they only teach about half the time. Missing one day a week would be insignificant if they actually taught the other four. Whenever my kids had to miss school for some reason, the school always explained to me that it loses funding of about $40 per day unless I fill out some paperwork or make some token appearance to avoid the loss. As long as they got their $40 per day, they were happy.

I am getting tired of teachers trying to blame parents, as the above commenter does. The teachers are very well paid, and they should do their jobs without blaming the parents. They should think of the parents as their customers. Otherwise, they should let someone else do the teaching. Every time my local school had one of their tenured teachers quit, it was always able to hire a better teacher.


Anonymous said...

I was trying to find any sort of outcry about this subject online and ran across this blog. I agree this is no law for a free society and is only about money. When this law starting being used in Texas years ago I knew it was the end of real freedom and was shocked that it is just accepted. Now we see 10 year olds being threatened with arrest in schools for minor infractions. People need to wake the heck up.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Like they really care about our kids. Yeah, right! Quack. That teacher writing the comment sounds sooo concerned about their welfare. Bull****! This is supposed to be a free country and not one that throws people in jail for not participating in a service that is provided by the government. It's all about the MONEY! They know it and we know it too, so don't try to act like you care about the kids actually being there for any other reason. This is the reason why some states fight homeschooling so hard as well and try to make it difficult because they lose out on the MONEY! It's a greedy bureaucracy that already takes over 50% of what I pay in property taxes (most of it to the elementary and high schools with only a small portion of it for colleges). They get plenty of money, they just waste it with excessive spending. I'm all for the voucher system and then we'll see this threat to our freedom as Americans fade away for a system that actual must work with good results to get paid.