Empty Desks

I saw a news report today, saying “the county official said attendance was 64 percent on Monday in the county’s high schools and dropped to 62 percent on Tuesday, meaning more than 20,000 teens didn’t com to school each day.” You probably will ask why. Let me give you some background. We had a harsh winter early this year, so the local public schools require students to make up the school days that they missed on those Snow Days. As a result, the current semester runs a bit longer than usual. Students won’t enjoy their summer vacation until sometime in June or even in early July. Poor kids!

As the news title writes “Empty Desk as School Dragged On and On,” I sympathize for the kids to have a relatively longer semester but on the other hand, I was surprised by their way of protest. If this happens in China that a school is running with empty desks and chairs, I’d immediately associate with the kids living in the poverty-stricken rural areas. They love going to school but they cannot afford tuition and in the end, they drop out. This is the fate for a poor Chinese kid. They have to exchange their education opportunity for the family’s livelihood. They work under legal age in the daylight or behind closed door. My heart is always bitter at hearing such news.

Now in America, I see children as young as they were born declare their rights of freedom. The choice of not going to school, in this case because the semester extends, can be seen as their natural birthright, at least in the eyes of the truants. How dare are the American students to quit schools? After all, this is a reasonable solution to the missing school days. In my eyes, they are indeed very fortunate. They’ve never lived in a situation that making a living becomes a burden at a young age, that the dream of going to school is too far to reach. They’d never understand how that feel to attend classes in clay houses or makeshift tents, no a/c, no heat or even no labs in the school. They’d never comprehend what sort of a journey  it is that the poor children in China have to walk bare foot for miles from home to school several hours every single trip .

The world is unfair. Those who want to go to school cannot, while those can, instead, choose not to. I feel sad that I, as a taxpayer in America, has been supporting education in my community, as yet, my contribution becomes a waste. This is how these “Empty Desks” upsets me.


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