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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

February 4, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Letting kids skip school, part 2: Seahawks victory parade

Back in November, we asked readers a question: “Is it ever OK to let kids skip school?” The discussion prompt was tied to a Nov. 21 story about how two Seattle middle schools have focused on attendance and seen significant improvements in student test scores.

With Seattle Public Schools announcing it won’t be canceling school or excusing absences for Wednesday’s Super Bowl victory parade, the debate has been renewed on The Seattle Times Facebook page. Even the mayor has called on SPS to excuse absences:

murray tweet

Research about the importance of attendance from Johns Hopkins University researcher Bob Balfanz provided background data for our November story. Balfanz found that sixth-graders who missed 20 days of class had, at best, a 20 percent chance of graduating from high school on time — and that even missing as many as 10 days a year can have a cumulative impact on student progress.

However, judging by the responses we received from readers, many parents feel that missing a day or two here and there is OK. Richard Stowell of Kenmore echoed the sentiment of several others: “A good student should be allowed to take a break from school if he/she makes up classwork ahead and has school permission. Oftentimes students can learn valuable lessons from travel or other such activities.”

What do you think? Is it OK for schools to cancel class or excuse students for the Seahawks parade? Or should it be up to parents to decide whether the festivities are worth an unexcused absence?

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