October 3, 2014 at 8:23 PM CDT - Updated July 11 at 10:10 AM
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM)
This week Margaret Ann Morgan reported how a formula used by the Mississippi Adequate Education Program or MAEP references student attendance numbers to determine how much funding a school district receives. While attendance is only one part of the formula, the student count in October and November is of particular importance. Now I could spend time arguing that enrollment, not attendance, would be a better guide and that school districts and each school for that matter has to operate daily regardless of who shows up. But what interested me more are the statistics regarding the success rates of students who attend school regularly compared to those students who do not. I learned that missing only 10% of class time can lead to a student struggling throughout elementary school. That is only 18 days during the school year – or two to three per month. Studies have shown that one in 10 of the nation's kindergarten and first-grade students are chronically absent. And this absenteeism rises as these students progress into middle school and beyond. Unfortunately, what trends along with absenteeism is poor academic performance. In most cases, students at this age don't make the decision to stay home, parents and guardians do. Parents need to make this a priority. If we want them to succeed, we need to get them to school every day without exception. This is today's viewpoint.