DETROIT, MI. - The state of Michigan is grappling with high rates of student absenteeism, a trend that has caused concern among policymakers. The impact of COVID-19 on attendance rates is unclear, but many believe that illness-related absences were the cause of the trend. However, a return to pre-pandemic levels of absenteeism would still be problematic for many communities across the state.
The city of Detroit faces unique challenges regarding student attendance, including limited public transportation, high child poverty rates, asthma, and harsh weather conditions. As a result, Detroit had the highest chronic absenteeism rates among large cities prior to the pandemic, with students missing at least 10% of school days.
To address the issue of absenteeism, there are several potential solutions on the table. Increasing funding for school transportation is one option that the Legislature may consider this year. Another strategy is expanding before- and after-school programs, which has already gained momentum in Detroit. This can provide a solution for parents who do not get home from work until late and need later pickup times for school transportation. The problem of absenteeism is complex, but there are a variety of approaches that can be taken to improve student attendance.
Other potential solutions include addressing community health concerns, such as improving air quality in Detroit to reduce asthma rates and providing support for families in poverty. Another approach could be to offer incentives for students who attend school regularly, such as academic rewards or extra-curricular activities.
Teachers and administrators can also improve attendance by creating a positive and welcoming school culture and addressing individual student needs through personalized support and counseling.
The state of Michigan is committed to finding solutions to the problem of student absenteeism and ensuring that all students have access to quality education. Through collaboration between government, schools, and community organizations, Michigan can work to overcome the challenges faced by students and families and improve attendance rates.
In conclusion, the issue of absenteeism is not just a problem in Michigan but a nationwide concern that must be addressed. By considering a range of solutions and working together, we can ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential.
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