Sarah Lenhoff, assistant professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and director of the Detroit Education Research Partnership, quoted in Detroit Is It, “Over half of Detroit students are chronically absent and here’s why”

Detroit Is It, 3/10

Over half of Detroit students are chronically absent and here’s why

By Emily Fisher

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, over half of Detroit students were chronically absent from school, meaning 10% of the school year was missed. This rate has only gotten worse on average during the past year due to the pandemic, but the causes were widely unknown. Detroit Education Research Partnership (DERP), in an effort to deeper, understand this problem and find solutions, conducted interviews with parents and students in the Detroit school system. During DERP’s research and interviews, it was found that most parents and students understand the long-term effects of chronic absenteeism, and truly care about good attendance. According to Sarah Lenhoff, the assistant professor of educational leadership & policy studies at Wayne State University and director of DERP, “The vast majority of them [students]… want to be in school and just have real barriers to getting there.” So why then is Detroit’s chronic absence rate so high? As their research and interviews continued, DERP soon found a pattern. The two main inhibitors for students and school attendance are transportation and health.


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