I know I call this blog, "What I Really Think" but I'll be honest, sometimes I don't share with you what I really think because it's too caustic or maybe too controversial and I'm afraid of ruffling some feathers. But I'm tired of that, so I'm going to stop holding back all of my snide remarks and actual thoughts and if you learn that I'm really a misanthrope, so be it.
So I'm going to start this week with the "Excused Absence."
Do you know what that is? It's an absence that the school deems "acceptable" and one that won't count against your attendance record (basically, if you get too many unexcused absences, hells fury will be released upon you and even if you're a straight A student, they'll threaten your advancement to the next grade - yeah right!)
But here's the thing that pisses me off about the excused absence. I firmly believe it's contributing to our rising health care costs, including insurance and disfavors poor (or lazy, like me) parents. Know why?
Because if you're kid is home sick with a 102° fever, even if the school nurse sent your child home with that fever, and tells you that you cannot send your kid to school the next day because your kids won't be 24 hours fever free (a policy I wholeheartedly agree with, by the way, but that's another rant), if you don't get a note from the doctor, your kid gets dinged with the dreaded unexcused absence.
Yes, that's right - though the nurse documented the fever, I must make an appointment with my doctor, drag my barfing child to the doctor's (where let's face it she's bound to pick up something else), have him examine her and tell me these things must run their course and pay g-d knows how much (because that's another issue - some have co-pays, some pay upfront and get reimbursed, some get billed later and on any given Sunday, anyone can guess how much the cost of that visit is and be correct) in order to get the note that says, "Please excuse Sammi from school today and maybe even tomorrow because she has a stomach bug." Duh.
So now I've wasted my doctor's time, which he could use to see someone that can actually benefit from his expertise, I've wasted the nurse's time, I've wasted the time of the people at the insurance company who process my claims, I've wasted the time of the postman who must deliver my bill (and all the people at the post office who sort the mail), I've wasted the book keeper's time, I've used gas to get to and from the doctor's and heck, I've even wasted the time of the school office staff who must read and file the note accordingly. We didn't even get to my time.
What happens when you waste time? Prices go up. And there you have it - one of the reasons for the rising cost of health care - the excused absence.
I'm not even going down the path of how this disfavors people who don't have insurance. Their kid gets sick, it could cost them $150 to get that stupid note - you decide, is that worth it?
Now I get it, there are people that lie and say their kids are sick when they're really not, so their kids don't get in trouble for skipping school. But don't you think if you skip school often enough, your grades will suffer? And if your grades drop, don't you think you should be in trouble - no matter the cause? And if you're saying, but should we penalize a kid because that kid gets sick and misses a bunch of school - is that fair? Yes! Know why? Because unless you arranged for a tutor for that child, if that kid missed that much school that the kid's grades suffer, then the child shouldn't advance because the child doesn't know the material. And I'm sorry that sucks but that's the way it is. You let a kid advance who doesn't know the material and that kid drags every other kid down as the teacher has to re-teach everything and is that fair?
So where was I? Oh yeah. Get rid of the excused absence policy and save everyone's time, money and energy.