A day without school is a day wasted


Dennis Gosnell

Assignment Editor

A day without school is a day wasted

Over the last decade or two legislators have created and voted on educational reform bills to ensure that the youth of today become socially productive tomorrow.

Compulsory education; does it help brighten the minds of America’s youth?

In Okla. a child, or teenager, between 5 and 18 years of age must in one form or another attend school. According to Oklahoma Statute 70, which deals with school laws in Okla., parents can choose to send their children to a public school or choose to keep their children at home and educate them personally or through a tutor.

Home tutors and private school teachers are not required by law to have an Okla. teaching certificate and are not regulated by state or national education laws.

However, if at any time a child must be integrated into the public education system, they must be able to demonstrate their level of education.

This leaves parents, private school teachers, and tutors a mandatory responsibility to properly educate a child or teenager.

A fine today keeps a child in school another day

Parents who do not send their child(ren) to a public school or are not providing them with an education personally or through a tutor are fined for their inaction and negligence.

“It shall be the duty of the attendance officer to enforce the provisions of this section.  Any parent, guardian, custodian, child or other person violating any of the provisions of this section, upon conviction, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be punished by a fine of not less than Five Dollars ($5.00) nor more than Twenty- five Dollars ($25.00) for the first offense, not less than Ten Dollars ($10.00) nor more than Fifty Dollars ($50.00) for the second offense, and not less than Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) nor more than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) for each subsequent offense.  Each day the child remains out of school after the oral and documented or written warning has been given to the parent, guardian, custodian, child or other person or the child has been ordered to school by the juvenile court may constitute a separate offense.  At the trial of any person charged with violating the provisions of this section, the attendance records of the child or ward may be presented in court by any authorized employee of the school district.” – 70 O.S. 10-105 subsection D

Today’s youth become tomorrow’s future

The education of the youth, of not only Okla. but also of the U.S. as a whole, is a major component to maintaining a productive march toward the future. As the youths of the U.S. get older they will take up the jobs of the generations before them and will need to be able to not only maintain the workforce but also improve it. This cannot be done without a good-enough education system.

“By 1918, all states had passed school attendance legislation, although until the 1930s, many were unsuccessful in enforcing their compulsory schooling laws. However, as the population increased, and as the demand for well-trained labor grew, the bureaucratic machinery for enforcement was created.” – Except from “A History of Compulsory Education Laws. Fastback Series, No. 75. Bicentennial Series.” by Michael S. Katz

With this being an election year; both candidates will try to sway voters with ideas about freedom and independence, while also bashing and abusing their opponents to make themselves look like the better candidate .  Find the issues of true importance.  If our youth do not receive a decent education, can there really be any tomorrow?

It is something to think about at least. Do not let overly zealous ideas about what women should or should not be allowed to do with their bodies be the only hot topic when choosing how to vote this election year.

For more information on the statues, see below :

Oklahoma Statutes concerning educational requirements:70 O.S. 1997, §10-105It shall be unlawful for a parent, guardian, or other person having custody of a child who is over the age of five (5) years and under the age of eighteen (18) years, to neglect or refuse to cause or compel such child to attend and comply with the rules of some public, private or other school, unless other means of education are provided for the full term the schools of the district are in session or the child is excused as provided in this section…. It shall be unlawful for any child who is over the age of sixteen (16) years and under the age of eighteen (18) years, and who has not finished four (4) years of high school work, to neglect or refuse to attend and comply with the rules of some public, private or other school, or receive an education by other means for the full term the schools of the district are in session.

70 O.S. 1997, §1-110

“A school month shall consist of twenty (20) school days during which school is actually taught or school activities performed. Provided, that holidays, elections, days devoted to professional meetings and other days when school is closed may be included in the number of days required for a regular school month, but no holiday or other occasion when school is not in session shall be included in the one hundred eighty (180) days required to be taught, except not to exceed five (5) days may be used for attendance of professional meetings (Emphasis added)

70 O.S. 1997, §1-1ll

“A school day for any group of pupils shall consist of not less than six (6) hours devoted to school activities, except that a school day for nursery, early childhood education, kindergarten, first grade, extended day program, and alternative education programs shall be as otherwise defined by law or as defined by the State Board of Education. … Beginning with the 1993-94 school year, the school day for kindergarten may consist of six (6) hours devoted to school activities.”

70 O.S. 1997, §11-103

“A. Courses of instruction approved by the State Board of Education for use in school years prior to 1993-94 shall be those courses that are necessary to ensure: 1. The teaching of the necessary basic skills of learning and communication, including reading, English, writing, the use of numbers and science; and 2. The teaching of citizenship in the United States, in the State of Oklahoma, and in other countries, through the study of the United States Constitution, the amendments thereto, and the ideals, history, and government of the United States, other countries of the world, and the State of Oklahoma and through the study of the principles of democracy as they apply in the lives of citizens. In study of the United States Constitution, a written copy of the document itself shall be utilized….

B. Courses approved by the State Board of Education for instruction of pupils in the public schools of the state for use in school years prior to 1993-94 may include courses that are approved by a local board of education and are necessary to ensure: 1. The teaching of health; 2. The teaching of safety; 3. The teaching of physical education; 4. The teaching of the conservation of natural resources; 5. The teaching of vocational education; and 6. The teaching of… other aspects of human living and citizenship…”

The Oklahoma Supreme Court in School Brd. Dist. No. 18 v. Thompson, 103 P. 578, 24 Okla. 1 (1909), upheld parental rights against the public school’s authority. “Under our form of government … the home is considered the key stone of the governmental structure. In this empire, parents rule supreme during the minority of their children … they may … withdraw them entirely from public schools and send them to private schools, or provide for them other means of education.”

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