Truancy has been a topic of discussion of late here in New Mexico. Unfortunately, most energy and political effort has been expended on the enforcement end.
Unfortunately, as I argue in the Farmington Daily-Times truancy is a clear indicator that students (and to an extent their parents) don’t value education. The problem is, of course, that a government-run monopoly is not designed to serve students and even those who remain in the system are often poorly served.
As I argue in the article:
We must dispense once and for all with the notion that “schools” should be funded. Instead of funding schools themselves, we must fund students and their needs. This means that money should flow through the students instead of bureaucracies.
The idea of funding education through students as opposed to schools may sound like a radical one, but until schools are required to treat children and their parents as customers and compete for their business, children who don’t feel served by the system will resort to the radical and harmful steps of truancy and dropping out.
Truancy will no longer be a problem if the schools are forced to serve their customers by providing an educational experience that is tailored to student needs and is relevant to their employment futures.