A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

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Union Prez: Average Detroit High School Student Missed 46 Days of School Last Year

New policy could result in parents being prosecuted after nine student absences

The average high school student in Detroit Public Schools missed, on average, 46 days of school in 2011-12, according to the head of the Detroit teachers' union.

"That isn't a figure I made up," said Detroit Federation of Teachers AFT Local 231 President Keith Johnson. "That's documented."

Johnson cited the statistic while discussing the problems teachers face while being evaluated when students are not coming to class. He said he saw the statistic in a school district report but did not have a copy of the report.

Detroit Public School Spokespeople Jennifer Mrozowski and Steven Wasko didn't return requests for comment.

The Detroit Free Press reported recently that the Detroit Public Schools has a new attendance policy that could result in a parent being prosecuted after nine unexcused absences for their child.

Johnson said all the new policy does is alert parents, the police and the county prosecutor's office about students who are chronically absent from class.

"OK. big deal," Johnson said. "It doesn’t have any teeth."

Johnson said he'd like to see parents of chronically truant students have their food stamp debit card, known as a Bridge Card, taken away or the amount of the benefit reduced.

Leon Drolet, chairman of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, said the school district must provide a safe environment and parents must get their children to class.

"It's a failure of adults on all sides," Drolet said.

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See also:

Michigan a Top 10 State In Per Capita Spending on K-12 Education

Charber Public Schools Give Detroit School Children Hope

School Districts Closed Because of Excessive Teacher Absences Over Right-to-Work

Average Lansing Teacher Missed 3.5 Weeks of School Last Year

Mackinac Center for Public Policy Director of Education Policy Audrey Spalding describes her latest study on right-to-work law violations in public school contracts and suggests why districts and unions are ignoring the law.


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