Thompson: Get Real About Chronic Truants & Accountability
The Buffalo New's Mary Pasciak finally got New York Education Commissioner John King to explain his demand that teachers be held accountable for the test score growth of chronically truant students. King accepted the obvious - "that attendance is not solely the responsibility of educators." But King said that educators, who are only one factor in regard to the attendance rates, must be accountable for the test score growth of students who they do not see in class. King forgot that growth targets are largely set by the test scores of students who come to class regularly. He did not mention a way for make those targets fair for teachers in high-poverty neighborhood schools. He did not say how he would determine how much responsibility each teacher has for chronic truancy. King is the former principal of Roxbury Prep, and commenters suggest that he is an idealist who is over his head and who thinks that his selective school faced the types of problems that neighborhood schools face. Tom Hoffman, at Tuttle SVC, responded by digging up the attendance policy from King's charter schools. Roxbury Prep's rules say, "Unexcused absences are never acceptable and may result in at least a .25% reduction in the student’s final grade for each class missed. More than three unexcused absences in a trimester may result in no credit and a zero percent average in each class for the trimester. More than seven unexcused absences in a school year may result in no credit for the year." - JT (@drjohnthompson) image via.