While a lot of people can agree that traveling to different parts of the world can serve as a great way to teach children about different people and cultures, others don’t seem to think so. As a matter of fact, one father admits that he was given a hefty fine after he pulled his son out of school so he could travel with him to Jamaica.
According to The Guardian, father and writer Kehinde Andrews admits that he had to pay a big price when he allowed his son to skip a few weeks of school so he could accompany him on a writer’s retreat to Jamaica. He and his partner were given a fixed penalty notice after they took their six-year-old out of school for two weeks during school.
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Andrews says that he didn’t even think twice about pulling his son out of school, mostly because it would be an opportunity for him to not only travel abroad. He would also be able to engage with several world-renowned scholars during their trip. However, Andrews says that the school’s administrators thought otherwise. Namely, they would rather have the little boy sit in his classroom while preparing and thinking about next year’s school exams.
In a new column in The Guardian, Andrews says that parents were fined more than $30 million dollars in England and Wales for taking their children out of school during the 2016 and 2017 school year. For Andrews, he doesn’t understand why so many parents are being given such harsh penalties when they are simply giving their kids an opportunity that many children don’t often get: the gift of travel.
The father of one wrote in his piece, “This is a reminder that we have replaced education with schooling, putting a premium on the state-mandated curriculum rather than the much wider world of learning. But as annoying as it is to be penalized for taking my child out of school, it’s not really parents like me who are the targets of the non-attendance punishment industry.”
He also goes on to say that the 1996 Education Act criminalized non-attendance while the Parenting Orders Act of 1998 made parents liable for their children’s school attendance. Andrews notes that in reality, students are being disadvantaged not because of their parent’s life choices (or work-related trips in this instance), but also by the system instead. He says that class and racial inequalities are far older than universal schooling. He further explains that when schools give out to fines for non-attendance, it will impact the poorest families in the country the most.
Andrews says, “Worshipping at the altar of attendance can also have the unintended consequence that sick children and those with special additional needs are less able to achieve the awards that schools hand out to those who always make it to class.”