Note: Specialty school reports corrected 6/20.
Continuing with the information from the 2016 Civil Rights Data Collection, here are the counts of absences of fifteen or more school days for the Richmond schools, expressed as percentages of the enrollments.
Notice that the high schools (highlights in gold) cluster at the high end of the list, followed by the middle schools (yellow).
Not included in that list are the specialty schools:
Recall that Richmond Alternative is the dumping ground for kids whom the regular schools (mostly middle and high schools) can’t handle. The 107.9% absence rate tells us two things: (1) total attendance varies throughout the year and they reported it at a time when it was even less than the total absences; and (2) whatever the actual percentage is, it probably is obscenely large.
The absence data for MLK Early Learning, Maymont Pre-K, and Governor’s (misspelled in the federal document) Career, showed “-9,” which is code for not applicable. Presumably that means they don’t keep attendance records.
The presence of Munford and Fox at the top of the big list suggests that we look for a relationship between these absence data and the SOL pass rates. When we do that, the elementary school data show the expected negative slopes with R-squared values of about 12%:
The middle school data show stronger correlations. Note: Franklin has both middle and high school grades; I’ve left it out.
The high school correlation (again, with Franklin omitted) is stronger still for math.
Of course, the correlations don’t prove causation. For instance, it may be that children who cannot perform well choose to avoid the place where they cannot perform well, school. We can be confident, however, that whatever those children may learn when they are not in school, it is unlikely to improve their SOL performance.
Finally, these data compliment the truancy data that also speak to Richmond’s egregious attendance problem and that illuminate our School Board’s wholesale violation of the state law that requires it to respond to that problem.