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Friday, August 7, 2020

Kids in Class

Students should be able to bring their children to class, alleviating their absence from school.  Between getting your child ready in the morning and your child care plans failing, you have about one hour to figure out a new plan before eventually giving up and missing yet another day of class.

Although teen pregnancy has significantly gone down, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), about a quarter of undergraduate students are raising kids while working toward their intended major.

Sure, many can argue that it’s our fault for deciding to have kids, but things happen, and now this is a reality for many students. The problem is real and affects a quarter of the student population, so why do we ignore it?

School systems are supposed to be built for the purpose of student success. There will be obstacles, and schools are there to help students navigate through it and still achieve their educational goals.

Daycares and babysitters are pricey, and students are already struggling enough as it is to pay for classes, books and living expenses. The average cost for daycare is $11,666 per year, according to an article in Babycenter. Most students would have to work to pay the daycare alone. The babysitter will probably make more than you do, so there goes that option.

There are free programs you can apply to that will help pay for your child’s care. However, you have to prove to be fairly poor, and after going through hoops to convince them you need the help, there’s more.

Now you have to wait for some time depending on your child’s age. The younger your child, the worse the waiting list is for you. In California, daycares can only take a certain amount of kids of different ages. For example, for babies who are six weeks old, there has to be one staff member assigned to every four, according to California daycare state requirements.

When you apply to daycares, you also have to provide a schedule of your classes stamped by the school. So by the time you have a schedule ready to turn in, the semester will be starting and you’ll only just be put on a waiting list.

About 43 percent of the parent-student population are single mothers, which is about 2 million students, according to IWPR.

I am a single mother, and I’ve missed so many classes due to not having anyone to watch my son. So, I eventually end up falling behind in my studies or dropping my classes.

I could be using this precious time to learn, but instead I spend most of it doing nothing as my son’s nap time is midday when I usually have a class.

Now, to have to take the class again makes you feel like you might never finish school. The stress and discouragement leads capable students to drop out simply because they physically can’t be in class due to their kids.

Yes, there’s online classes but it’s a select few, and you can’t get every class you need online. I have family members who could help, but only at night once they’re off work. There are also night classes, but is every general education class available at night? No.

I’ve had teachers who have kindly allowed me to bring my son to class, and nobody else was affected by his presence. My son either played with a toy or watched something on my phone, while my peers and I continued to learn.

Yes, my son has pooped during class. But it’s not like he poops more than any other human. Maybe a few times a day, and during a one hour class it most likely won’t happen. I take the same amount of time taking him outside to change his diaper as I do when I excuse myself to go to the restroom.

Babies are even easier to watch when they can’t walk. They mostly just eat and sleep. I have gone to the movie theaters when my son was only a few months old, and he could make it through a two-hour movie completely passed out, which is even longer than a class period.

Toddlers are a bit trickier to keep calm throughout an hour long class, but if you set up their nap times just right and come prepared, you should be able to make it through class with no mishaps or disruptions.

As for the kids 5 and older, there really isn’t a good reason to ban them from classrooms unless there’s some type of chemicals or machinery around, which is typically not the case. If we need to bring our 5 year old to class, you better bet we gave them a long talking to about not disrupting beforehand.

If my child is having a bad day and I just cannot control him, I’d simply leave class.

Students can be quite disruptive themselves when on their phones, chit chatting throughout class, and stepping in and out.

Students who are parents should receive support, and be encouraged to stay in school. They already struggle enough juggling school, work and parenting. Something as simple as letting them know that they can bring their kids to class when all else fails is such a motivator for them to continue going for their degree.

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