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Washington Post: Is D.C.’s ‘80/20’ attendance rule unfair to students?

December 29, 2017

If D.C. students miss their first class and arrive in the middle of second period, they are marked absent for the entire day — even if they attend every other class. Sharra Greer weighs in in the Washington Post.

Sharra Greer, policy director at the Children’s Law Center, a nonprofit group that provides free legal service to D.C. children and their families, said the council later approved measures to help prevent some chronically absent students from being tied up in the court system, but she said further changes are needed.

According to Greer, most school systems would not consider a student absent for missing 20 percent of the day.

In Montgomery County, students are considered absent if they miss about 60 percent of the day, or more than four hours of school. In Baltimore City, students are marked present for a half-day if they are in class between two and four hours. And in Miami, students must be present for only two hours of the school day to be considered ­present.

“There is a real difference between kids who are struggling to get to school on time and kids who aren’t going to school,” Greer said. “It muddies the water in how you are looking at students’ challenges with school disengagement.”

Read the full article here.