Public school districts are resorting to paying door knockers to go to the homes of chronically absent students as more schools struggle with filling the classroom, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Student absenteeism has drastically risen since the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 70% of students attending a school during the 2021-2022 school year suffering from this problem, while only 25% of students attended a school dealing with chronic absenteeism before the pandemic. The issue has continued to persist as school districts from Baltimore to Los Angeles are knocking on the doors of chronically absent students, according to the WSJ.
Baltimore Public City Schools is set to pay $18.7 million over four years to Concentric Educational Solutions, a company in Baltimore that provides tutoring and mentorship resources for students and even makes home visits to remove “barriers” to education, according to the WSJ. Aaris Johnson, the home visits director for CES, said his employees hit hundreds of doors in one week and that they focus on figuring out why students are missing school during their visits.
“One visit can save a child’s life and change the perception of how much the school cares,” Johnson said.
Many families lack transportation, students are working to help their parents make ends meet and some parents had no idea their children were missing school until informed, according to Johnson.
Los Angeles Unified School District is making a similar effort, with even its Superintendent Alberto Carvalho helping knock on over 17,000 doors, according to the WJ. Teachers for the Victoria Independent School District in Texas have been told that if their district is able to get above 94% in attendance for the year, educators will receive financial compensation.
A report from Attendance Works, an educational nonprofit, found that California, Texas and Florida had the highest numbers of students recorded absent at 1,935,997, 1,498,353 and 984,334, respectively, in 2022. The report also revealed that early data for the 2022-23 school year showed a 2% decrease in absenteeism for nearly a dozen states.
Reading and math grades for K-12 students have taken a heavy hit as absenteeism has continued to be a problem for many districts. Students in fourth grade who missed three days of school in a month scored on average 17 points lower on the Nation’s Report Card reading test than students who had been in class.
BCPS and VISD did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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