Sarah Lenhoff, assistant professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and director of the Detroit Education Research Partnership, quoted from panel discussion in Chalkbeat Detroit, “To educate Michigan’s missing students…”

Chalkbeat Detroit, 3/22
Panel: To educate Michigan’s missing students, districts have to address systemic issues beyond the COVID-19 pandemic
By Caroline Bauman

Chronic absenteeism isn’t a new issue in Michigan, but it has been greatly exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Chalkbeat Detroit convened a conversation last week to foster suggestions for how districts could improve attendance, find disengaged students, and prepare them for the fall semester. Enrollment in Michigan public schools plunged last fall by 61,940 students in preschool through 12th grade. That loss underscores the need to provide students with extra academic and emotional support. Sarah Winchell Lenhoff, an assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies in Wayne State University’s College of Education, said during the event that districts have to look at the biggest barriers to getting to school, including transportation, health care, and other factors related to poverty. Bo Torres agreed that this is especially true for Latino communities and other communities of color, who long have faced barriers in getting to school. “When we start addressing these systemic issues, then we can take a closer look at chronic absence.”

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