Skipping School: America’s Hidden Education Crisis (ProPublica)


    Skipping School: America’s Hidden Education Crisis – By Alec MacGillis (ProPublica) / Jan 8, 2024

    Absenteeism has nearly doubled since the pandemic. With state and federal governments largely abdicating any role in getting kids back into classrooms, some schools have turned to private companies for a reimagined version of the truant officer.

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    On a cold, clear weekday morning in early December, Shepria Johnson pulled up to a small house in Ecorse, Michigan, in an SUV with a decal on the driver’s door that read “Student Wholeness Team.” She looked at an app on her phone. It was her third of 10 visits that morning, and she was there to check on a girl and a boy, 11 and 9, who had missed enough days of school to put them on a list of “chronically absent” students at Grandport Academy, in Ecorse, an industrial suburb of Detroit.

    In case there was no one home, Johnson wrote the students’ names on a form letter and addressed the envelope to “the parent of Jisaiah and King.” She wrote “parent,” avoiding the plural as she had seen schools do. “If it’s a one-parent household, that might get touchy.”

    There was someone home. Kuanticka Prude opened the door; behind her were some of her eight children. Cats darted up and down the front steps, which were garlanded with Christmas decorations. Johnson introduced herself and said that she was concerned about Jisaiah’s and King’s attendance and wanted to see if there was anything the family needed to help them get to school.



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