Monday, May 3, 2010

Fravær... Absenteeism

I Texas har vi en lov som hedder "90% Rule" som betyder at alle højskoleelever SKAL blive i skolen 90% eller mere af skoledagene. Hvis de ikke er det, får de ikke "credit" til deres klasser. Reglen betyder at selv om dine karakter gør at man består, og har du mere end 10% fravær, består man ikke klasserne.

In Texas we have a law called the "90% Rule" which means that all high school students MUST be in school 90% or more of all school days. If you are not, you do not get credit for your classes. This rule means that although you may have all passing grades, if you have more than 10% absences, you do not pass the class.

Dog har vi et system hvor eleverne som har mere end 10% fravær kan "tjene" deres timer tilbage.... Systemet kaldes "Lørdagskole" som er timer hvor elever kommer til skolen på lørdage og "sidder".... de "tjener" timerne de har mistet igennem året.... (Jeg kan forestille ansigterne af mine europæiske venner som de læser dette.....) LOL

However we do have a system in which students with more than 10% absenteeism can "earn" their hours back... It's called "Saturday school" which consists of hours that the students come to the school on Saturdays and "sit" ....and earn back the hours they have lost throughout the year. (I can totally imagine the looks on my European friends' faces as they read this....) LOL

Jeg var meget nysgerrig for at finde ud af om fravær i Danmark. Kan en elev "mister sin credit" for en klasse hvis han har masser fravær? Og hvor meget fravær er for meget? Har vi en lov om dette?

I was really curious to find out more about absenteeism in Denmark. Can a student "lose his credit" for a class if he has too many absences? And what constitutes too many? Do we have laws about this?

Svaret er nej... Eleverne "mister" ikke klasserne hvis de har fravær. MEN hvis man har mere end ca. 8% fravær, får man en advarsel fra vice-rektor. Hvis problemet fortsætter, får man anden advarsel.... Og hvis de stadig fortsætter, SKAL man gå til eksamen i alle sine klasser i stedet for bestemt klasser i din studieretning. Vi har ikke en "lørdagskole" for at tjene fravær tilbage. I stedet for "tjener" man muligheden for at tage eksamen i alle fag! Det er en meget bedre løsning end "Lørdagskole" efter min mening....

The answer is no... Students do not "lose" their classes due to absenteeism. BUT if you have more than 8% in a class, the vice-principal will issue a warning to you. If the problem persists, you get a second warning... and if it still continues, you will be FORCED to "go to the exams" in ALL of your subjects rather than the certain courses that your study-path demands. We don't have a "Saturday school" system in DK in order for students to earn back their lost time. Instead they "earn" the opportunity to take exams in all their subjects! A much better solution in my opinion than something like "Saturday school".


Jeg er sikker på at mine venner som er højskolelærer i USA undrer sig "Er fravær et problem i gymnasiet?" Og svaret er nej. Mine elever er meget samvittighedsfuld og ansvarlig og er meget bevist om deres fravær. Og den bedste del er ----- Hvis elever er fraværende fra min klasse, er det DERES ansvar for at finde ud (fra LECTIO, vores elektronisk lektion system) hvad jeg underviste og hvad arbejde de mistede. Det er IKKE mit ansvar som er en STOR FORSKEL fra systemet i Texas.... Lærerne "jæger" eleverne som var fraværende for at fortælle dem om klasserne de mistede! Det er vanvittigt!

I am certain that my friends who are high school educators in the US are wondering, "Is absenteeism a big problem at the gymnasium?" And the answer is No. My students are incredible conscientious and responsible regarding their absenteeism. And here is the best part.... If a student is absent from my class, it is HIS responsibility to find out (from LECTIO, our electronic lesson system) what he missed and what work he might owe me. It is NOT my responsibility which is a HUGE DIFFERENCE from the way things work in Texas... As teachers we have to basically chase students down to give them the work they did and plead with them to do it! It is CRAZY!

Et punkt mere... kan du gætte hvor meget vi betaler lærer for at "holde øje med" eleverne i lørdagskole??!! De underviser ikke.... de passer dem kun....

Oh and one more point... can you guess how much we pay teachers to "watch" the students who are sitting in Saturday school??!! And this pay is not for teaching...only for watching them....


Næste gang.... jeg skriver om fravær for lærer! Hvor mange dage kan vi "være" syge??!! Jeg er bange for at mine kollegaer i Texas ikke bliver så glad for at høre svaret til dette spørgsmål....

And next time... absences for teachers! How many days are we "allowed" to be sick??! And I am afraid that my Texas colleagues are not going to be so happy when they hear the answer to this question....

8 comments:

Jennie said...

I'm glad you brought the subject up. When I first came here 14 years ago, and took two years of gymnasium I was floored, FLOORED, by this system. IT is an honor system in a way, I s'pose you could say.

If you have under a certain percentage of absence ( I think it was 12% at my gymnasium) you are rewarded by only having to take a few number of exams. It is used as an incentive. You get a warning, and then if you don't shape up, you must take all of your exams. I think it's a quietly brilliant system, putting the responsibility where it should be. On the student. Not the school.

I've thought about it a lot, you know, because here, you can leave campus any time you want, without teachers' or parents' notes, you can go to the restroom whenever, no hall passes. In Denton, at Ryan High, this was all I knew. I couldn't even drive my truck OFF campus without a proper pass, aside from the sticker in my window that specified when I was supposed to be in school. The school policed me. Made me a prisoner, and themselves a prison. It was quite sad really, and made me despise them, and authorities in general more than giving me a healthy respect for them, as the case is here.

GutsyWriter said...

I found this super interesting. Also Jennie's coment about, "policing" in the U.S. high schools. Do you know we have a female cop and her car parked in the school and she stays there all day, despite us living in one of the ten safest cities in the U.S. Can you imagine what that costs? I'm not sure I get the "taking all the exams" part. Are you talking about exams in other subjects that you don't normally take? Not sure?
Great post as I love comparisons between countries.

LadyFi said...

A much better system in Denmark - for sure.

Stephanie said...

While all this stuff about the Danish school system and your students in particular sounds great, I wonder if your students are representative of all of Denmark. You are an IB teacher and you aren't in a city, which means your kids are the best and brightest and come from the middle class. What about the ones in the middle? What about the inner-city kids? What about the kids who aren't gifted? Do they all believe, like you wrote a few months back, that there is no class system in Denmark? Are they all responsible about absenteeism? Do they pass all their exams? Do inner-city Copenhagen schools not have lockers/problems with theft?

Mads and Kelli said...

Stephanie- I teach at a "regular ole gymnasium" and do not teach IB students. (We will not begin IB until August 2011). In fact, in Herning (a very working class area of DK), many of our students at the Herning Gymnasium are the first in their families to go to gymnasium. So although they are not in the inner city of Cph, I feel like they are very representative of Danish gymnasium students. (And in Herning, we are in the top 20 gymnasiums in DK when it comes to exams).

My classes are incredibly diverse with students from Sri Lanka, Somalia, Iran, India and other EU countries so I feel like they are very representative of what a "typical" gymnasium class looks like.

And Gutsy Writer... when I Was a principal in Texas, we had a full-time police officer on campus 100% of the time the school was open.. including all sporting events, dances, etc... and yes, it was MEGA MONEY and no, it did not prevent crime or drug use.

Annemette Kuhlmann said...

Kelli,
I don't know much about the high schools here in Texas. I'm still only on the elementary level.
But I've had such a hard time with the boys elementary school here in Texas, because of how different it is to the danish system. Especially all the control they need to have with the kids....I mean the boys come home with marks, because they needed to go to the restroom outside recess....6 years old and supposed to keep your blatter under super-control the whole day! I'm very danish in my approach to control....I feel they suspect all children and parents to be some sort of cheating criminal that thinks the worse of education.....when they ought to trust me (and later on the kids) that I (they) want to wring every last drop out of that education!
After a while you get accustomed to all these weird things. You learn to accept, that this is how it apparently must be around here. I see the female police officer across the street in front of the school in the morning and I wave at her and feel that my boys will have a safe walk across the street because of her. I bring notes signed by the doctor excusing the absence....when I had the the boys at the doctors office, so they wont be tardy (accepting that my words are not enough)
I accept that the boys have to make up for every minute of work they miss in school, even the stuff that seems less relevant (but who am I to decide;o)), though it's not their choice to be absent.
I accept a lot more and actually find myself talking about the school in positive ways, most of the times. The teachers here expect respect from children and parents and get it. They have classes where the children are quiet and listen - a good learning environment (and they are so generous with praising the children, which makes up for all the strict rules). And that's a major improvement to the elementary school in Cph - where kids were allowed to be kids to a degree where running around shouting during teaching was maybe not accepted but happened....and NONE of the involved were happy about that....
I know the danish "Folkeskole" are in trouble right now and I'm not sure what they need to do to make it more comfortable for both the kids and the teachers (bring down all the sick leave among the teachers) but from where I am right now, the schools in DK and in the US could learn so much from each other!
It should be in everybodys interest to get an education and get as much from that education as you possibly can. And I really think it's primarily your own responsibility. In elementary: the parents responsibility!
I accept - but still don't like - to be controlled;o)

Mads and Kelli said...

Annette-- I hear everything you are saying and you are one mom that can really say you have seen both sides. And I agree with you that the 2 systems can definitely learn from one another..somewhere in the middle is the RIGHT and BEST way! I don't know much about the folkeskole system, but have "heard" that it is a very relaxed environment... the total opposite of the Texas system with all its rules and policies. The sad thing is that Texas has taken the ART from teaching and stopped TRUSTING the teachers. There are some incredible educators all over the state, working tirelessly around the system, trying to meet the educational needs of all kids, but at the end of the day, many are STOPPED because what they are doing is not "on the test" the kids will take in the spring. It BREAKS MY HEART.

And the system has also stopped trusting parents. Making them answer for everything .. or maybe blaming them for everything? We have labeled kids with every letter of the alphabet and put them into groups to ensure that they can perform and schools can get the ratings they need to stay in business.

These decisions are made by policy makers who have never in their lives stepped foot inside a classroom in the role of TEACHER... they make decisions from an ivory tower in Austin or Washington DC and then claim no responsibility when their plans fail, instead they blame the kids or the teachers...

That is one thing here that I have not found.. BLAMe. THere is so much trust and NO blame... and teachers are able to do their jobs in the way they deem best for their kids. I think I would have a really hard time leaving the Danish system and going back to work in Texas.... in fact, I honestly do not think I could do it...not after I have had a taste of how schools should function...

Stephanie said...

Ahhh. . . this whole IB thing confuses me! Still, I think you also should point out that gymnasium in Denmark is for the most academic students and that many students never go to gymnasium - as opposed to high school in the US where all students go before the age of 16 and most go until 18. It makes a big difference comparing denmark's top 40 or whatever percent go to gymnasium with America's 100%