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K-12 Education

DERP Releases Report on Persistently Present Students

The Detroit Education Research Partnership (DERP) at Wayne State University released a study on the attendance patterns of “chronic attenders.” “Chronic attenders,” as defined in DERP’s study, are Detroit students with attendance rates of 80% or higher during the 2018-19 school year.

Per the report, “High attending students often enroll in some of the city’s top schools—‘commuter’ charter schools and selective schools run by the Detroit Public Schools Community District, which are often located downtown. Students at these schools travel to get there, typically commuting 5.8 miles to class, more than twice the average commute of students who attend schools elsewhere in the city.”

The study also highlights that students with high attendance attend schools where other students have high attendance rates. Although additional data are needed to assess the socio-economic status of high attenders as compared to students who experience high rates of chronic absenteeism, some evidence suggests that these high attenders are more affluent than their counterparts, and, therefore, have more transportation options.

The study is a critical next step to inform the efforts of Detroit Public Schools Community District, charters, and community partners in efforts to create a school-going culture in Detroit. The study also represents a problem-solving focus on the issue.

Chronic absence across Detroit in both charter and DPSCD schools have remained approximately the same over the past two school years, with 55% of Detroit students missing 18 or more days of school in 2017-18, compared to 56% in 2018-19. However, between the 2017 and 2019, DPSCD lowered overall chronic absence by 7%, and some individual schools had rates of chronic absence drop by as much as 20%.

The Skillman Foundation

A voice for children since 1960, The Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy that serves as a fierce champion of Detroit children. The Foundation works to ensure Detroit youth achieve their highest aspirations by strengthening K-12 public education, afterschool learning opportunities, and college and career pathways.

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