Wednesday, March 11, 2015

MDE: 15% of public school students miss at least a month of school.

The Mississippi Department of Education issued the following press release:

Present and Counting: Looking at School Chronic Absenteeism
Report reveals 15% of Mississippi public school students missing a month or more of school

STARKVILLE – Almost 75,000 Mississippi K-12 public school students missed at least 18 days of instruction time during the 2013-2014 school year according to a report issued by Mississippi KIDS COUNT, located at Mississippi State University’s Social Science Research Center. Present and Counting: A Look at Chronic Absenteeism in Mississippi Public Schools marks the first time data provided by the Mississippi Department of Education has been used to examine areas of high chronic absenteeism rates, defined as missing 10 percent or more of the academic year (180 days) for any reason, including excused and unexcused absences, suspensions, and time missed due to changing schools.

Similar to national trends, rates were high in kindergarten (14 percent), tapered off in early elementary years, and increased steadily throughout middle and high school years. The highest was 36 percent in grade 12. Despite an overall state Average Daily Attendance (ADA) of 93 percent, there were still 130 school districts with at least 10 percent of their students chronically absent and 11 districts with 20 percent or more. The school districts with the highest chronic absenteeism percentages were Natchez-Adams (26.0), Moss Point Separate (25.8), and Monroe County (25.4). The lowest were Hollandale (3.0), Benoit (4.7) and Pass Christian (5.8).

“Because it counts excused absences, the Average Daily Attendance can mask a chronic absence problem in a school district,” said Dr. Linda Southward, director of Mississippi KIDS COUNT. “Nationally, the evidence is mounting – there is a clear connection between school attendance and student achievement, particularly in improved math and reading skills by third grade. Improvements in children’s achievements can be made by not only enhancing school readiness so that children are ready to learn in the early years, but also align policies that promote school attendance.”

Across Mississippi school district accountability ratings, the report revealed that 13.4 percent of students in “A” districts were chronically absent compared to 16.4 percent in “D” and “F” districts combined. Nearly 18 percent (17.7) of white females were chronically absent followed by white males (16.5) and black males (14.2).

Nearly one in eight (12 percent) of Mississippi kindergarteners and first-graders missed at least 18 days of instruction time during the 2013-2014 school year, which can negatively impact third-grade reading proficiency. Mississippi students taking the 2013 National Assessment for Education Progress (NAEP) standardized reading test who self-reported that they missed 3 or more days in the month prior to the test scored 12 points lower than their peers who had no absences.

“This report validates what teachers have long known – that missing school negatively impacts student learning,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “Being in school every day is critically important for all students from kindergarten through the 12th grade. Chronic absenteeism can not only lower achievement levels, it also puts students at risk for dropping out of school.”
The report contains recommendations to address chronic absenteeism in Mississippi. They include the adoption of a standard definition of chronic absence that districts can use, early identification of students who are considered at-risk for chronic absenteeism based on attendance the previous year or within the first two months of the school year, and the development of action plans for students based on real-time attendance data.
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The Mississippi KIDS COUNT Present and Counting report will be available March 11 at 12:01 am CST at

. Additional information is available in the KIDS COUNT Data Center which also contains the most recent national, state, and local data on hundreds of indicators on child well-being. Mississippi KIDS COUNT is part of the national KIDS COUNT network of state-based organizations supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.


Anonymous said...

Interesting, but flawed, data. By including excused absences, the data capture sporting events, but they also capture things like academic competitions, speech tournaments, CLEP visits, and other academic extracurricular activities in which high-achieving students participate. You cannot make a credible argument that the performance of high-achieving students is harmed by these excused absences, at least not with today's high school standards.

Juan said...

I'd be curious to know at what time year the absences mostly occur. In some districts it's common for kids to wait - and the parent(s) to make them go - until after Labor Day to drag their asses into class.

Anonymous said...

That must be the month that they should learn to read and write.

Jatran Won't Work said...

It's because the government has not provided enough parents with automobiles for the purpose of transporting children to school, the doctor and places like libraries. We have got to step that up before the regime changes.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS