In class today a few of my students were looking at maps after they finished a project on the computers. I came over to make sure they were done with their assignments and ask “What are you doing?” One of the girls responded, “Looking at maps.” The other stated “Yeah, I have to show her all 16 of the places I have lived!” This was a 13 year old girl who has gone through the moving process 16 times, more than once a year. After my “Oh” expression she continued “I can’t help it we have been kicked out alot.” My heart continued to break for this girl. Thirteen years old, frequent moves and evictions filling your life. No wonder she struggles in school.
Our district was just looking at attendance data. 1,354 of our 3,785 student have been absent from school for more than 10 days. Either the flu was really bad this year or student are staying home in large numbers. Are students sick for all of these days? Over 1/3 of our population sick that much? Probably not. Many times when I talk to a student about their absence, they reply “couldn’t get a ride” or “I had to watch my younger sibling.” Large amounts of absences in general a result of poverty. How are we going to address this issue?
10 days of school is 6% of the school year. I know students that have missed twice or even 4 times as many school days. Missing this much instruction has to have an impact on student learning. How can schools help students catch up when they miss school? Poverty is a growing issue in American schools. Sure it is not as bad as some countries, but it is like never before here. We need a plan to assist these children that are born into their circumstance.