Children can’t learn unless they are in school.
While that may seem clear to some, there are parents and guardians in both our city and county that aren’t making their kids go to school. Or in this age of COVID-19 are not making them keep up with virtual learning
Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 10 percent or more of the academic year (180 days) for any reason, including excused and unexcused absences.
Both Clarksdale and Coahoma county schools have a problem with chronic absenteeism and we feel that may be a contributor to recent failing grades by both districts.
And it is a statewide problem, too. The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) show that 14.2 percent of Mississippi students were absent 10 percent or more of the time.
So let’s look at the problem.
Many single moms are up and off to work before their children get up for school. Older kids might just think they can take the day off. Mom may not know the difference.
We offer a solution that has been tried and tested in other districts. A parent whose child is chronically absent gets a phone call from the district. While that may seem like just more work for teachers and front-office staff, it can pay off in higher Average Daily Attendance. Districts get state and federal dollars based on Average Daily Attendance.
More importantly, getting that student back in the classroom might just be the difference in a high school diploma and a drop-out.
One of the statistics that astounds us most is many parents allow their younger children to just stay home. Some parents and guardians just seem to find it easier to sleep late and think their elementary school student can pick it up the next day.
Your has repeatedly run stories that say truancy is a crime and parents and guardians can be fined if they don’t make sure their child goes to school.
And while that may seem hard on a single mom or a grandparent who just loves having their grandchild at home, it get students in the classroom, where they need to be.
We urge law enforcement to pick up kids who are not in school on school days. We urge our truant officers to charge those parents and guardians of chronically absent students. And we urge parents to reach out to schools and local agencies that can help them be a better parent.
Children can’t learn if they aren’t in school.