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Age and AccountabilityPosted Saturday, March 6, 2010, at 7:48 AM
I don't have primary school age children any more. If the some of the newer Nebraska legislation being acted upon in the current session had been passed back in the day, I would have had to weighed in on the matter. I am chiming in anyway as the newer 'raised' age limit for kindergartners would have mattered in our household.
Younger daughter would have been seven days too young to have attended school with her class if the newer proposal had been in place. I would have certainly been one of those parents who would have had to advocate for using the exception for those August/Sept/Oct-ish birthdays.
As it was, my daughter went to school from the time she was little with a two year age range in her class. She functioned fine academically and socially so 'holding' her back a year would not have been in her interest. She learned at an early age to study, play and work along people
of varying ages.
As a parent it would have been my responsibility to be accountable to my child and advocate for her place in her class.
Now as a bit of a historical aside for what it is worth. Back in the day, when there were a boat load of country schools, babies were mainly born at home and sometimes birth dates were confused or not written down. Grandma Helen shared how school age eligibility was determined as it were. If the child could reach their arm over their head and tough the top of their ear, they were the right age to begin attending school if the birth date lacked documentation. Kids younger than school age can't quite touch the top of their ear.
On the other side - family lore has it the birthday of one of my aunt's birthday was 'manipulated' to fit the school requirements at the time. She was born 24 hours or so to late for the school deadline and since it was a home birth - the attending aunties changed the date. Since it was 70 or so years ago and the adults involved have long passed - it is just an unproven family story.
Along the lines of accountability and since I am on an school theme today, I have to wonder if the eastern state school district that fired all the instructors for poor district performance thought about the message they were sending to their community and elsewhere. The message I garnered was the students don't have to be accountable for themselves. It isn't the student's fault they are failing, it is someone else's fault. The students don't have to be responsible for their own accountability in that community I guess.
As a society we do ourselves and our children no favors by not making them learn the hard lesson of accountability. Out in the grown up world, they aren't going to get their hand held and be told it is okay if they show up for work late. It won't be okay if they don't meet their job responsibilities. They also have to learn the lessons that accountability is not always fun but it is a necessary part of being a responsible adult.
While there is accountability required of the educators, the students have to be held accountable as well and I am sick to death of hearing how it is always the teachers fault that the students are failing. By the time a student is in even upper elementary, junior high and senior high students know they have to be accountable.
Novel concept - school is not always fun but is necessary to learning life skills. Novel concept - homework won't kill anyone. Novel concept - it is a student's responsibility to be in class on time. Novel concept - it is okay to have rules and discipline. Novel concept - there needs to be safety and behavioral rules adhered to and there are consequences if the rules are broken.
Accountability is one of those life lessons that everyone needs to learn early at an earlier age and keep learning in school and beyond.
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