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Proudmomoftwo
Proudmomoftwo asks:
Q:

Is there any parental or student protection for students who have a teacher that is habitually absent?

My son's 5th grade teacher has missed 11 days of school this month. The school uses para-professionals (aides) to "fill in" because the district requires para-pro's to become subs to save $. She's pregnant, and while I understand the reason she is gone so much, I feel like my son isn't getting the education that he deserves. We haven't received a graded paper in 3 weeks. (The 9-weeks ends next week!) There hasn't been any new content covered since the beginning of the month.
I have already complained to the Principal, but he said that he can't hire a long-term, certified teacher until she's out 10 days in a row.
This week she has missed 2 days, last week she missed 4 days and the week before she missed 3.
My son is ADD and heading into puberty. I would love some consistency in his classroom. I am looking for a law or a leg to stand on when I go back to the principal or to the district administration. Surely it's my right as a parent to get the best education for my child. He shows up...he should have a teacher that shows up! He does the work...he should have a teacher that grades the work!
Any help would be appreciated!
In Topics: School and Academics
> 60 days ago

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Expert

BarbK
Oct 6, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Proud Mom of Two,

Wow, that's a tough question.  Chances are it is in the teachers' contract about being replaced if the teacher misses 10 days in a row.  And the para-pro problem is happening all over the country as a cost-cutting message.  I know that is not what you want to hear, but...

Here are a few things you might want to try.  Not sure if they will work, but you never know.

Since your son has ADD, you might want to ask either his doctor or a psychologist to write a recommendation requesting that he be moved to another class.  This might have more weight coming from a health professional rather than mom.  

If your child has any kind of a 504 plan, see if there is anything in that that would help you get him out of the class he is in now.

You may also want to question the principal about how he is making sure that proper instruction is going on in the classroom when the para takes over.  For example, where is she getting her plans (are they emergency plans that are usually not as demanding as regular every day plans)?  Is the school's reading coach mentoring this para?  Does the class get the same para each time this teacher is out?

Ask other parents what they think.  Things seem to happen when more people are involved.  Maybe you could ask if there are any stay at home parents who can come in an volunteer.  This might help keep the class on track and moving in the right direction.

It is unfortunate that this is happening to your son and the others in the class and there isn't an easy answer.  Keep a close eye on your son's progress.  the last thing you want is for this year to be a waste of time and for him to fall behind.

Hope you are able to solve this problem for your son and his classmates.

Barb K
www.lessonpop.com

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