Ignorance is not bliss

Mosi Zuberi is right to feel frustrated and deceived when he learned that his son was not on track to graduate high school on time.  He thought he was being a responsible parent; he thought he had the information he needed to make good decisions for his kids.  He discovered – too late – that he did not.  His ignorance did not bring him bliss; it brought heartache and feelings of failure.  So what are parents like Mosi supposed to do?

Fortunately for some, the remedy is simple: paying a library fine, returning a gym uniform, or locating a lost textbook. For others, there is no quick fix and the consequence is severe. They don’t graduate. Maybe they forgot to take a full year of fine arts credit. Perhaps they cut history class too many times. Maybe they didn’t turn in their English homework for an entire semester. In the end, it doesn’t matter what they did (or did not do) to get them in this predicament.  What matters is that no one realized what was happening until it was too late to change the result. 

Here’s a classic example. When Darren was in 7th grade at a school with class sizes of over 35 kids, he did not have enough supervision to enforce good attendance.  So, Darren decided to regularly cut gym class. It seemed harmless at the time.  Darren expected to graduate on time and then get his associate’s degree.  He didn’t think he needed gym class.  Nobody seemed to notice anyway.  Eventually, he got a detention, but his parents were not informed, and Darren felt no significant impact from his decision. The problem is that he had established a pattern of skipping classes. He had no idea that his dream of becoming a computer maintenance technician was already slipping away because he got off track. What began with merely skipping gym class led to years of absenteeism.

This didn’t need to happen.  Students and their families deserve timely information that they can act on.  The real tragedy is data exists in every school.  It just isn’t getting into the hands of students and parents.  The challenge is in managing the timely delivery this data in a form that promotes knowledge and informs action. UR Turn can help.   Darren’s trajectory might have changed if both he and his parents had received regular communication - in clearly understandable language - about his progress towards his stated goal. UR Turn’s early alert feature can give students and parents timely information on what is trending and what the likely impact might be. If Darren had realized back in seventh grade that his pattern of truancy was also setting a trend towards late homework assignments and mediocre test scores that were diminishing his odds to get his associate’s degree, then he would have had a chance to change his behavior.  UR Turn provides students and their immediate support system (parents, teachers, guidance counselors) the tools they need to make informed decisions, helping more students stay on track.

Parents, mentors and educators don’t want to see kids fail.  Kids will make mistakes and poor choices along their journey. We want them to understand the consequences of these decisions and learn from them—even before they happen!  UR Turn helps to correct their path and stay on an upward trajectory.  Data that is accessible, transparent, and timely can help us all parent better, teach better, and counsel better.  This way, we can keep more kids on track for success. Let’s give these students a better chance by encouraging them to set goals and giving them a tool that holds them accountable for meeting these goals. We can do more than just cross our fingers and hope for the best.  Let’s not think that ignorance is bliss; it isn’t.