Concord July 4th

It’s time to ditch the Ditch Day

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Concord High’s celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week May 6-10 was a jarring contrast to the previous Friday, which marked 291 senior class absences.

Not only do absences reduce federal funding of schools, the apathy accompanied with skipping school is an insult to the work teachers put into lesson planning.

As the daughter of a teacher I may be biased, but it seems like common courtesy to do what you can to help the education system. It is a symbiotic relationship; by showing up to class, students can improve funding and enjoy benefits from that funding.

In the 2017-’18 school year, the Mount Diablo Unified School District had an average daily attendance (ADA) of 29,708 student. The total enrollment was 31,317 students. This is an average of 1,609 absences per day.

The district gets $68 for each present student, so the district lost $109,412 on average per day. That’s more than $19.6 million lost over the 180-day school year. The amount lost per day is significantly more than enough to pay one teacher’s annual salary.

Concord High School lost $19,788 in ADA funding on May 3 just due to absences for Senior Ditch Day. This event, not school sanctioned, is considered a tradition. But in the wake of four involuntary transfers and four layoffs among Concord High teachers as a result of budget cuts, Senior Ditch Day was utterly disrespectful.

Furthermore, ADA is calculated before the last two weeks of school. This enormous loss of funding could have been prevented if the date were scheduled for one of these final days.

I understand the decision to ditch. Many who took the day off are dedicated students who contribute to the community and deserve a break. However, it is important to educate students about why coming to school isn’t just beneficial to their own learning, but also to teachers and schools.

There were several other senior events this school year, including senior brunch, senior sunrise and senior picnic. Why not end a tradition that damages both parties involved and instead call one of these school-sanctioned events Ditch Day?

With less than 20 school days left in their high school careers, 291 of 361 seniors in my class decided to skip school. This is a whopping 80 percent, much higher than in recent years.

Senior Ditch Day is a childish way to enter adulthood. The easiest way to help the education system is to come to school. Once our years of free education are exhausted, we’ve lost our opportunity to help simply by being present.

Rayna Stanziano is senior at Concord High. Send comments to editor@pioneerpublishers.com

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