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Chronic Student Absenteeism: Stats, Underlying Factors, and the Federal Response

30/06/2016   |   1 Comment

MyCloudSome time before schools had shut their doors on the 2015-16 school year, the U.S. Department of Education’s 2013-14 Civil Rights Data Collection’s 2016 update reported that over 6.5 million kids had been “chronically absent.” In other words, they missed 15 or more days of school, translating to some 13% of all students nationwide.

And of those more than 6.5 million kids …

  • More 3.5 million were in elementary school—or 11% of the total.
  • 10% were kindergartners and first graders, and, in some cases, their numbers hit 25%.
  • More than 3 million were high schoolers, representing 18% of the total.

Even our very youngest are missing out. In Chicago, for instance, almost 50% of 3-year-olds and more than 33% of 4-year-olds missed school 15 or more days last year.

As to the why, the underlying factors include: Read the rest of this entry »

The Federal Government’s Push for Restorative Justice Puts Teachers at Risk

18/06/2016   |   1 Comment

Obama and KingThere’s been a lot of talk over the years about unfairness and inequity in our schools from Obama, his former education secretary Arne Duncan, and the current one, John B. King, Jr. In fact, the latter’s photo just happened to top the recent USA Today article, “Black pupils 4 times more likely to be suspended,” with the added, “Education chief cites ‘systemic failure.’

That statement is backed by such 2014 data from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights as:

  • Black preschoolers represent 18% of enrollment but 48% of preschoolers receiving more than one out-of-school suspension.
  • 5% of white students are suspended vs. 16% of black students—a rate three not four times more likely as headlined.
  • 12% of black girls are suspended vs. 2% of white girls.
  • While black students represent 16% of the total, 27% of them were referred to law enforcement and 31% of them were subjected to school-related arrests. Whites represent 51% of enrollment with 41% of them referred to law enforcement and 39% arrested.

In light of such reported discrimination, the Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights have partnered up and given schools notice that they must increase data collection on the “inequitable treatment in schools” and see to their ongoing responsibilities.

The result reports Education Week: Civil rights complaints have exploded during Obama’s reign. Indeed, back in 1990 under President H.W. Bush’s watch, 3,384 such complaints were received and 3,130 were processed. Under the current administration, those figures stand at 9,950 received and 10,128 processed.

However, says Michael J. Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, “I think this has been a very aggressive OCR [Office of Civil Rights], and I don’t say that in an admiring way… Especially on the issue of school discipline, they have gotten into the daily routines of schools in a way Read the rest of this entry »