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New York Times Letter to the Editor: How to Reduce Student Absenteeism


Image source: Kaylee Greenlee for The New York Times


"Before the pandemic, about 15 percent of U.S. students were chronically absent, which typically means missing 18 days of the school year, for any reason...Last school year, the most recent for which national estimates are available, it held stubbornly at 26 percent." --- Sarah Mervosh, "A Crisis of School Absences"


Like many of you, our team was sobered to read the New York Times report on the rise in chronic absenteeism nationally. In this letter to the editor, We outline the conditions that are helping our partner districts to slash chronic absenteeism in middle school.


To the Editor:
“Pandemic Effect: Absence From Schools Is Soaring” (front page, March 30) highlights the persistent challenge of chronic absenteeism in U.S. schools. If pandemic-related “cultural shifts” are among the factors keeping students away from school, bringing them back may require us to rethink the culture of education itself.
Despite the efforts of many visionary educators, too many schools still offer a desk bound, test- and compliance-driven experience that leaves students passive, uninspired and flat-out bored..."

“How to Reduce Chronic Absenteeism was authored by WPS Executive Director Laura Tavares, Salem Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Zrike, WPS Board President Stephen Hinds, and Salem Public Schools Dean of Innovation Chelsea Banks. Read the full letter at the New York Times (linked above) or via pdf available here.

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