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Tue Sep 6, 2016, 06:03 PM

Report puts Detroit kids' chronic absenteeism at nearly 58%

Source: Detroit Free Press

A new report on chronic school absenteeism says half of the country's chronically absent kids are in just in 4% of school districts — including Detroit, where more than half the kids in the city's school system are chronically absent.

Detroit is one of the cities, along with Philadelphia, Baltimore, Milwaukee and Cleveland, highlighted in the report released publicly today.

Chronic absence occurs when a child misses so many days of school — whether the absences are excused, unexcused or suspensions — that it negatively impacts his or her academic achievement.

The report, created by Attendance Works and the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, said nearly 58% of students in Detroit's school system are chronically absent. The national rate is about 13%.

Read more: http://www.freep.com/story/news/education/2016/09/06/chronic-absenteeism-detroit/89784112/

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Reply Report puts Detroit kids' chronic absenteeism at nearly 58% (Original post)
MichMan Sep 2016 OP
haele Sep 2016 #1
Igel Sep 2016 #4
MichMan Sep 2016 #2
Igel Sep 2016 #5
PassingFair Sep 2016 #6
MichMan Sep 2016 #7
ancianita Sep 2016 #3

Response to MichMan (Original post)

Tue Sep 6, 2016, 06:39 PM

1. How many of the the chronic absentees are due to homelessness?


According to the study, and backed up somewhat from anecdotal experience attempting to raise a troubled teen in a large metropolitan area, homelessness amongst teens in the city - either because they were kicked out for being "trouble", ran away because their home life was a mess, or homeless due to a caretaker's homeless state, ranged anywhere from 5 - 12% at any one time. Every year, we had one or two of her classmates living with us for anywhere from a couple weeks to three months. In one instance, one of her classmates and that student's working mother moved in with us for six months while the mom was trying to get enough money saved up working both a full time and part time job to pay bills and come up with first and last rent to put down on an apartment after their original apartment was sold out from under them.
Having just gotten a degree from University of Phoenix didn't help the poor woman much, especially not when she found she couldn't get shit for a job even as she did owe $25K in student loans.

Anyway, according to the above report, studies have found that over the past 10 years, at least a quarter of the kids in the main high school complex had experienced at least short term homelessness (anything over a month without permanent housing) at least once in their lives growing up. Primarily amongst the lower income students.
This high school typically has around 3000 students enrolled at the beginning of every year.

I don't remember where I read it, but someone wrote "Cities in decline carry the seeds of their populations' destruction" - homelessness and loss of opportunities, degradation of the importance of education being part of those seeds. And homeless families with chronically absent children just provide more grease to the downward heading skid.

You can talk all you want about "kids these days", drugs, single parent families, bad rock n'roll - but the majority of the problem with most teens is when their living situation is unstable. Whether their living environment is based on a single parent, step parents, both birth parents, liberal or conservative upbringing, attention to talent or neglect - these are factors, but home or lack of home is the trigger. If there's no permanence - no "home" to depend on - that they can cling to when they're in their most vulnerable emotional state, they fall apart - and it's very hard to put them back together.


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Response to haele (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 7, 2016, 12:36 PM

4. Homeless doesn't have to mean absent.

I teach.

I have homeless kids in my classes.

They get up, leave whether they spent the night, and show up at school. Then they leave school and return to their "home." Perhaps with friends, relatives, a shelter.

I also have chronically absent kids. Some are homeless. Most aren't.

Granted, homeless often = not motivated. Not always, sometimes homelessness is great motivation to attend school. If a kid is motivated to get to school he'll get there; if not, he won't. In fact, homeless kids have shelter during the school day, some support, and qualify for free food. What matters is whether school's to be avoided or if the perceived benefits outweigh the costs.

Runaways are a different matter. They don't dare attend their old school--to easy to get picked up by the cops--and they can't get registered at a new school.

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Response to MichMan (Original post)

Tue Sep 6, 2016, 07:37 PM

2. Seems to be all across the country, but much worse in the 5 cities listed

Some of the report's findings:

•Chronic absence at varying levels impacts 89% of school districts in the U.S.
•Half of the chronically absent students nationwide are in just 4% of school districts and 12% of schools
•Some of the places with the largest numbers of chronically absent students are affluent, suburban districts known for academic achievement, such as the Washington, D.C., suburbs of Montgomery County, Md. and Fairfax County, Va.
• Districts serving disadvantaged urban neighborhoods with high rates of poverty typically have both high rates and large numbers of chronically absent students. In these places, researchers said, chronic absence "reflects a web of structural challenges," such as the lack of adequate affordable housing and the absence of well-resourced schools. These places are also highly segregated communities of color, researchers said.
•Many poor, small rural school districts have extremely high rates of chronic absenteeism.

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Response to MichMan (Reply #2)

Wed Sep 7, 2016, 12:40 PM

5. Averages are pointless.

Chronic absence is usually something like missing 15 days in a year. Heck, I've had kids out for surgery and illness for longer than that, or whose parents decide to take them on a two week cruise. Miss 10 days for a cruise, it's easy to be out five more days that year for illness.

Chronic absence is a string predictor of failure to graduate. But it's just correlation. High-SES kids missing class typically graduate just fine. Perhaps not with a 5.9 GPA, but high enough for college admission. These kids do well enough that they don't need to care about absences. It's the low-achievers that struggle, and disproportionately they're low SES. In some cases, it's because they're moving between schools, or aren't motivated, or have no good place to study or never learned the skills.

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Response to Igel (Reply #5)

Wed Sep 7, 2016, 02:21 PM

6. This!

Don't forget that being tardy can be included as an "absence" as well.

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Response to Igel (Reply #5)

Wed Sep 7, 2016, 07:26 PM

7. Cruise?

You are correct; 15 days or more was the criteria. Still that is a lot of time to miss with nearly 60% of the student body. While some could be illnesses, that is way too high of a %.

These are all inner city school districts in areas of high poverty. There may be multiple factors including economic, social, or home stability. I seriously doubt that significant numbers of them are absent due to being on a two week cruise with their parents.

I grew up for the most part in a single parent home, I was aa very motivated student, but my mother would have never permitted me to ever miss school.

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Response to MichMan (Original post)

Tue Sep 6, 2016, 08:15 PM

3. Supplier vendors swoop in to clean up what little in the budgets they can, and/or bureaucrats

allow no-bid contracts cost eat away at the survival of schools to make the occupants' lives on starvation tax rations even harder.

Absenteeism impacts school district budgets, as well, because of possible leftover inventories and costs of contracts for students who aren't around to justify the contracted goods and services.

Also, caring state legislatures of lawyers and professionals can run full multiple year forensic budget audits on these systems to go after skimmers and shysters.

Recouping losses costs. Maybe the costs of regaining the revenues lost due to absenteeism has to be weighed against auditing costs of contracts. It's not my call.

But absenteeism is exacerbated by the teachers' poor working conditions, which are also learning conditions of the students.

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