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Thompson: Draw a Line in the Sand with Chronically Absent Students

Teacher-bashing-rotherhamWould anyone in his right mind have supported NCLB without its provision allowing the exclusion of chronically absent students from school level accountability reports?  If schools had not been allowed to exclude the test scores of students who missed 20% or more of class while trying to meet their growth targets, would there be a single high-poverty school in America that had not been labeled as a failure? Of course, some supported NCLB because it would produce an endless series of headlines about failing schools ...

Unless the point of data-driven evaluations is teacher-bashing, it is hard to see a rational reason why "reformers" would not exclude chronically absent students from the data used to evaluate teachers.  Would they hold a teacher accountable for a student who attended for one week, or one month, or even one day?  The Wall Street Journal's Lisa Fleisher, in an article with the revealing title of, "Teacher Ratings Face New Union Obstructions," reports Adam Urbanski, the Rochester Teachers Association president, plans to "draw a line in the sand on the issue of chronically absent students."  We should all support Urbanski's realism and his courage to say, "The state has said such students' scores can't be excluded from evaluations," but, "I say, 'Keep your money.'"-JT (@drjohnthompson)image via.


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NCLB does not allow you to omit chronically absent students.


It allows the exclusion of non full year students on school level reports which are the most important reports. Our state has often changed the defintion of non school year students,but it typically excluded students who missed ten straight days. That drops many or most chronically absent students.

Oh, but Michelle Rhee thinks teachers should be held responsible for their students' attendance too... because if students aren't coming to class, it's obvious the teacher is to blame for not making class appealing enough for them. Punishing teachers for chronically-absent students isn't a bug for the "reformers"; it's a feature.


produce an endless series of headlines about failing schools ...

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