Sex and Truancy

Delving further into the Feds’ 2014 “Civil Rights Data Collection,” here are Richmond’s rates of chronic absences (absent fifteen or more school days, whether excused or not) by school and by sex.

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Aside from the appallingly high absence rates in some schools (indeed, in the Division, which averages 22%), one might notice the several cases where the females’ absence rate is higher than the males’.

We can examine that phenomenon by sorting the data by the (male minus female) difference:

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Where the female absences exceed the male by more than one percent, we see a preponderance of high schools (Armstrong, Community, Huguenot, Marshall, and Wythe, plus Franklin that has both middle and high school grades).  Also one middle school, Binford.

Three of the four elementary schools in that group (Bellevue, Fox, and Overby) are on the Northside; Swansboro is here on the Gracious Southside.

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Looking at the other end of the list, we see six of the eight middle schools (Boushall, Brown, Elkhardt, Henderson, Hill, and King) with male rates >2% more than the female.  Seven Southside elementary schools (Blackwell, Broad Rock, Fisher, Francis, Oak Grove, Reid, and Westover Hills) inhabit this part of the list, along with three from the Northside (Ginter Park, Stuart, and Woodville).

Aside from the obvious fact of far too many students missing far too many school days, I’m not sure what to make of this.  If you would like to try to puzzle it out, here is the dataset:

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And here are the specialty schools not in that list:

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What is clear, of course, is that the State Board of “Education,” which is charged with the duty and authority “to see that the [mandatory attendance laws] are properly enforced throughout the Commonwealth,” does not even collect useful truancy data, much less enforce the attendance laws.  Rather than dealing with the manifest problem, it looks like the Board will adopt a feckless, unlawful, belated regulation on June 23.