Schools Are Open. But Where Are the Students?
From Maine to Washington State, chronic absenteeism rates amid COVID-19 have reached record highs Why? And how are schools responding? (EWA Radio Episode 287)
Most school districts have returned to in-person learning, but enrollment numbers have taken a hit – and so have daily attendance rates. Chronic absenteeism – typically defined as missing at least 15 days of school – takes a heavy toll on students’ academic progress, and can also decrease a district’s state funding. Lily Altavena of The Detroit Free Press puts Michigan’s numbers in national context, shares insights into why chronically absent students were a problem for many districts even before the COVID-19 pandemic, and what new approaches educators are trying to get kids back into class. Where can education reporters find reliable data to put their own local stats into context? What are some of the surprising reasons many families struggle to consistently get their children to school? And how can local education reporters include more student voices in stories on this crucial issue?