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Thompson: Everyone Graduates

Danny_baltimore2 Claudio Sanchez in his NPR series on dropouts explains that some Baltimore schools "fudge" the numbers and "take attendance at 10 a.m. rather than 8 a.m. because they know if kids show up at all, they come in late and would be counted absent."  Having seen those tricks to make data look less dire, I suspected that Sanchez would soon be telling worse stories. (In another report, Sanchez explained  that Baltimore also has a zero-tolerance policy in dealing with kids who miss school.  It is a "last resort" where the district can fine parents $50 or put them in jail if their kids miss 20 or more days of school.)  But Sanchez then says that, "the district's key strategy, though, has been placing teams of psychologists and counselors ... to identify the kids who are most at risk of dropping out."  Baltimore is listening to Robert Balfanz' Everyone Graduates Center, and I wish more districts would use their majestic data systems to follow Balfanz's recommendation that we immediately identify truancy problems and work with the community to understand and address them before children are hopelessly behind.- JT (@drjohnthompson)Image via.

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