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THEY CAN DO THAT?

Filed at 8:00 am under by dcobranchi

Can TX schools really suspend students for not doing a reading assignment over the summer?

A Texas school system is so serious about learning that it told more than 500 students to stay home from classes until they finish a summer reading assignment.

The decision by the Lancaster Independent School District near Dallas may be tough, but it reflects nationwide pressure on US schools to turn out better students under education policies championed by President George W. Bush.

At least in this case, the effort seems to be paying off. Last year, when the reading programme applied to seventh through 12th grade, 1,100 Lancaster students were suspended for not completing the assignment.

This year, all grades had to do summer reading but only 519 students had fallen short, said Teri Wilson, director of community relations for the district.

…In May, the Lancaster district sent a letter to parents informing them that all students would have to read during the summer and complete a project based on the reading.

Students who did not complete the work were told they would be suspended from class until the work was completed.

Students were sent home to complete the work, and the schools even provided books to make it easier for students. When students returned for the second day of classes, nearly 425 stragglers had completed the requirement.

And if they refuse? Are they indefinitely suspended? Do they suspend kids when they don’t do other homework assignments? It seems to me we might have several violations of law here including lack of due process and whatever right a TX youth has to a publicly-funded education.

Paging the ACLU.

8 Responses to “THEY CAN DO THAT?”


Comment by
Unique
August 27th, 2006
at 9:31 am

What an easy ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ pass.

You don’t even have to DO anything; just don’t do something.
Ingenious. No wonder kids aren’t reading.

Big DUH for Texas.


Comment by
Nance Confer
August 27th, 2006
at 12:04 pm

What amazed me was the 500 kids who completed the assignment overnight and were allowed in school the next day.

What comprehensive reading program — you know something to keep kids engaged and keep those reading skills honed to test-readiness — can be done in one night?

The kids knew it was BS but, unfortunately, the parents seem to have bought into this crap and, besides, they need to get to work.

Nance


Comment by
Nance Confer
August 27th, 2006
at 5:28 pm

You might not know any better. If this is how you were schooled —

tinyur.../ghsyd

But your parents should.

Nance


Comment by
Sandra
August 28th, 2006
at 1:39 pm

There must be something to this. I overheard one mom telling another mom, “___ is thinking about dropping out of her advanced classes this year and just taking regular classes. With all the books she’s had to read and papers she’s had to write, she hasn’t had anytime to relax this summer.” Unfort I wasn’t in a position to learn more, but I was sad. I was in advanced classes all through high school in Texas and I never had summer assignments. I graduated in the top 5%…of course, in those ancient days we weren’t being taught to pass incomprehensibly-written tests that would affect teacher salaries and pay raises. I am just so grateful that I can homeschool my daughter.


Comment by
Sandra
August 28th, 2006
at 1:48 pm

Oh, and about starting earlier…when my daughter was young, I worked two days at the office, and another 14 hours at home. So when she was 4 years old, her daycare administrator told me I had to put her in classes 5 days a week or remove her from the center. When I told them that I was using the same Abeka books at home that they were planning to use, and would work with her the other three days, I was told that was unacceptable. So I put her in another daycare, one where the emphasis was on playing in centers and reading to kids. When kindergarten came, I tried a homeschool regimen but she didn’t like the workbooks so I abandoned them. I read to her everyday, we watched PBS shows, and did a lot of “car” learning. The first week of first grade was grueling, learning to stick to schedules and regimens, but she learned to read in the first week and by third grade was reading at a seventh grade level. … I realize this is anecdotal, but I think “play” should be the order of the day for toddlers, not school.


Comment by
Faerie Rebecca
August 28th, 2006
at 9:38 pm

Hmmm, Harry and Hermione have summer work from Hogwarts. Maybe that’s where Texas is getting the idea from?
Sandra, they just implemented all-day kindergarten in Maryland schools for 5 year olds. I just vented about that on my blog. Grrrr.


Comment by
WhyKnot
August 28th, 2006
at 9:40 pm

At my suburban Cincinnati highschool, in the early ’90s, all AP English students had summer reading, summer essays due the first day, and a comprehension test the first day. One AP US History course I took required 3 large sections of the textbook be read over the summer. There were questions for each chapter, some short essay stuff, and a test the first day. None of the AP Math, Science, or Economics stuff I took required summer-work, thankfully. That last week before school started was full of late-nighters and cramming. It wasn’t fun, but watching what my friends in the IB program had to do kept me from complaining _too_ loudly. Shannon R.


Comment by
Sarah
August 28th, 2006
at 9:57 pm

On the other hand, kids have a tendency (in families that already aren’t academically inclined) to go backwards to a startling degree over the summer. If you’re already faced with a bunch of kids who don’t want to be there, parents who don’t cooperate, and teachers who have to teach for 10 months per year to get 6 months of progress, making the kids do schoolwork over the summer starts sounding mighty pleasant.

Also, bands and sports teams eat up a lot of what used to be homework time. One of the public school students I knew did three sports and band, and spent half days at a program where he learned to do masonry (he’s been making bucketloads of money since the day he graduated) — he probably had 45 minutes to an hour per day during the year to actually do his academic homework, in order to get his diploma.

Of course, his older sister only did band, and didn’t take any extra classes — so she was required to attend from 8am to 1pm every day her senior year, but only had two credit classes (one was called “Life and Work,” where they learned to write checks and stuff, and the other was a history/civics class.) All the rest of the time she went to a study hall. So it really depends, I suppose, on how you play the game.

We didn’t have summer work that was required when I was in public elementary school, but the last two years were on a track system, so we had July 1st-August 18th and December 20th-February 14th as our only real vacations. After two years of that I’d have preferred a bit of homework over a longer summer.

(and homeschoolers should be the last in line to criticize being able to do “three months” of assignments in a night — we already know how little time it really takes to cover just the stuff the public schools do.)