This Dad Just Pw3ned His Kids' Principal - All Teachers, Parents and Travelers Should Read His Letter
Jack Rossi just returned from a family vacation to Boston -- and found a letter from his two elementary school children's principal saying that his kids' absence was not excusable. (Even though the primary purpose of the visit was to attend the funeral of a family member...) It read:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Rossi,
Jack is a dad who understands the importance of travel. He understands that the best way to give your child a creative, entrepreneurial mind has nothing to do with flashcards. He understands that, by 1979 standards, most children today are physically and emotionally stunted. And he understands that childhood can be a magical, enriching journey... if parents don't let irrational fears and mindless obedience to authority interfere.
So he wrote this perfectly-worded reply:
Dear Madam Principal,
As someone who missed about a month of elementary school per year to travel with my family, I understand the value of real-world learning. I understand the difference between learning about fish in a book, and swimming beside them in the Pacific Ocean. I know where white sand comes from, because I've seen it being... excreted. I got my first (and, probably only) hickey ever after I scratched my leg with the same hand I'd been eating ceviche with, and the stringray picked up the scent and went after it.
I've always, always had a deep sense of appreciation for culture, nature and the arts -- due entirely to learning experiences that happened outside of the classroom.
So way to go, Michael Rossi! You just won my Dad of the Month award!
I wonder how much of principle Rochelle's concern had to do with the education of the students, and how much of it was driven by an ulterior motive, namely money. If students are absent, schools get less money from the state (at least in California, but I imagine it is the same in many other states). This is true even for excused absences. Thus schools have an incentive to keep students there even if they aren't learning.
5/1/2015 05:54:08 am
Interesting!... and weird. If I were a school, I would do what Phillips Exeter is doing, and implement some sort of "enrichment days" program, where you give kids days off to explore something completely non-academic. Maybe have them come back the next day with a pass/fail show and tell about their experience. It's truly the best way to expand their minds.
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