Exemption dilemma

“Why do I have to stay in the classroom when I am not even taking the test?” is the one concerning question that is on every high schoolers mind as exams near.

Throughout our high school life, we have been blessed to be able to exempt, or not required to take, any test if we have the grades and attendance to match. If you have a 75 you can only have one absence, an 80 you can only have two absences and so on. You can’t have been suspended or have three or more in-school suspensions. Another thing that could knock you out of the running for the exemption is outstanding fines or fees.

If you are a freshman you are allowed one exemption, sophomores are allowed two, juniors three, and seniors four. And no one is saying they want to get rid of or not be allowed to exempt – they just don’t understand why you have to be in the classroom when they are not taking the test.  

Most times if you are not required to take the semester test, you’re just sitting there or working on other reviews or studying. Some teachers do not even let their students be on their phones if they are not taking the exam and, in turn, those who aren’t taking the test end up doing nothing for an hour and a half.

Many students feel that the teachers and the school should let them leave or at least not have to sit in the classroom doing nothing. Some have even thought of alternatives for staying at the school, like watching movies in the lecture hall, being able to sit in the cafeteria or library, or just being able to be on their phones.

Although we as a student body are confused, former Assistant Principal Dawn Hilburn knows the reason behind it.

“We as a school have to meet the ADA (average daily attendance) quota every single year,” she said.

The fact is, attendance is directly linked to the school’s funding. Schools in Texas receive funding based on the average daily attendance numbers. ADA is, effectively, the deciding factor on how much money the school receives from the state.

For example, if a student misses nine days, the school could potentially lose five percent of the funding a student with perfect attendance would create.

The bottom line is, if everyone who exempted an exam didn’t show up, our school would lose a large percentage of funding that goes towards teacher salaries, pay raises, building maintenance and electricity.

So, the question is, do you want new books and working lights, or to get out of school for just an hour and a half?