Sarah Lenhoff, assistant professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies was quoted in World News Group, "Missing school"

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World News Group, 1/8

Missing school

By Laura Edghill

More than 76 million students across the nation returned to school this week following the holidays, and 8 million of them who qualify as chronically absent have already missed at least eight days of school this school year. That translates to more than 50 hours of lost instructional time each student likely won’t recover. The U.S. Department of Education identifies a student as chronically absent for missing at least two days per month. That might not sound like much, but the effects can compound as incomplete assignments pile up, leading to lost academic progress and poor performance on standardized tests. Detroit Public Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti has implemented several districtwide initiatives in an attempt to address the issue, including spending $9 million last year to place attendance agents at more than 100 schools and adding a small fleet of vans to pick up students who struggle with transportation. But so far those efforts have fallen short. A recently published study by Detroit’s Wayne State University College of Education found that rates rose to an even more alarming 62 percent in the three years since the Education Department’s previous report. The study cites poverty, crime, average monthly temperature, and even high rates of asthma as contributing factors. It concluded that the problem can only be tackled in the broader context of entire communities. “While school-based efforts to reduce absenteeism are critical, they are likely insufficient to address the enormous challenges students face in getting to school in Detroit,” the report’s co-author, Sarah Lenhoff, assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Wayne State, told Bridge Magazine.