There was a recent article in The Clarion-Ledger about the State Auditor’s crackdown on alleged absenteeism in Mississippi’s public schools.
The piece quotes audit chief Stacey Pickering as saying that “It’s more than one school, more than one district and more than one county” and, “It appears to be fairly common practice, basically to not have school around holidays and after tests.”
Of course, based on the fact that he has traveled the state with the leading detractor of the idea of free, public education for all children, AKA the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, this latest witch hunt should come as no surprise:
While you are reading this right now, no matter where you are in Mississippi, the students in your community’s public schools are working themselves sick in preparation for the highly rigorous state test that will be given next month. In fact, they’ve been working themselves sick ever since the first day of school back in August.
Day and night, weekdays and weekends, our professional educators and their students live and breathe some form of test-based accountability that is geared towards the ultimate goal of scoring well on the state test in the Spring.
God forbid we allow our students to leave school early every now and then, and God forbid we give them a little flexibility around holidays.
Certainly we would not want to create a relaxed environment at school, for that would make our students – dare I say – happier. And happy students make higher test scores.
Higher test scores means fewer “failing” schools. Fewer “failing” schools means less demand for charters and school choice. Less demand for charters and school choice means less political victories. And, alas, less political victories would mean weaker political resumes for those in power who salivate at the thought of higher office.
God forbid someone’s political career be threatened.
But, wait. Isn’t this supposed to be about the kids?