However, times of fiscal hardship often create cycles of disruptive behavior, and statistics suggest that child truancy actually rises during these periods. The specific causes can be diverse, but many centre upon economic issues or those that surround social circumstances and individual parents perception of the society in which they live. The issue of truancy is one that governments are looking to resolve, as they recognize the potential effects on future generations of the US.
It is widely accepted that children develop their perceptions and behavioral concepts when they are young, and these shape them through adolescence and into adulthood. This is especially significant in terms of education, as children are required to be both encouraged into schooling and also be helped to sustain an enjoyment of their relevant curriculum. If children are either hindered by parents or encounter negative experiences at school, then truancy becomes far more prevalent in their later life.
The role of parents is key when we consider economic and social issues, as it is often their own machinations that lead to child truancy. If we look at the current financial situation of the US, we see that the southern portion of the country is suffering from depressed circumstance and increasing levels of poverty amongst its residents. This may well create a situation in households where children are required to forgo their education in order to earn income and contribute to their families needs, regardless of the damage to their individual futures.
This is merely a reflection of a specific circumstance, and there is little doubt that poverty places tremendous pressure on any family unit. However, the responsibility for economic prosperity should sit firmly with the adults of a household, and children should not be forced to sacrifice their education for financial gain. Any parent has a duty to retain a considered perspective of their families dynamics, and have a clear vision for their children that is based on education and social interaction.
Socially, there are an increasing number of parents of keep their children from school and educate them at home, usually due to their own perceptions of state educational bodies. In these instances, they allow their own fears or trepidations to dominate their actions, which ultimately serve to deny their children quality learning and social interaction with peers. This may be partially influenced by the sensationalized media reports of violent crime and conduct, which creates concern amongst adults and is ultimately allowed to govern their decision making processes.
Though parents may feel that they are acting in their children’s best interests, they are in fact only serving to satisfy their own concerns and trepidations, and this actually comes at the expense of their children’s welfare. Denying them a formal education not only deprives them of acquiring knowledge, but also leaves them unable to develop their social interaction skills and without experience of the regimented structure employed in learning and working environments. In essence, it is leaving them without a suitable foundation for adult life, and cutting them adrift from their social peers.
The US government are piloting several schemes across the US to deal with truancy, although these vary in their methodology and effectiveness amongst subjects. For instance, students truanting in New York will receive automated messages from selected celebrities to discourage them, and help to reinforce the values of a solid education. In contrast, school districts in Anaheim are piloting a scheme whereby truanting individuals are given GPS monitoring devices, and are then assigned a mentor and required to check in with their location five times day.
Innovative though these schemes maybe, they do nothing to identify the root causes of truancy and address these issues directly. Rather than simply paying lip service to such a significant social epidemic, governments should instigate direct lines of communication with parents and children alike, and seek to understand the reasons why youngsters are not attending school. Subsequently, they can address any parental concerns or situations of student distress, and create legislation that serves to encourage youngsters into school of their own volition.