A new bill in California, which has already passed the state Senate, would make it possible for parents to be punished by up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine if their kids are absent from school too much (a separate bill defines chronic absence as missing 10 percent or more of school days without a valid excuse).
The bill's sponsors argue that chronic truancy is not only a major contributor to high drop-out rates and poorly-educated generations of kids, but is also a factor in high crime rates (lawmakers say as many as three-quarters of California inmates are high-school dropouts).
Do you think this is an example of too much government or an example of a policy that other states should start considering? I think it's all well and fine to encourage parents to send their kids to school, but it may be too simplistic a tactic to just threaten parents with jail time without also improving schools and otherwise supporting families so that their kids stay away from crime. What happens when those kids who are on their way to delinquency stay in school? Won't that make schools less safe for those who are there to learn?
Jail for parents of chronically truant kids may make great headlines for politicians but this strikes me as a simplistic answer to a very complicated problem.