Rise & Shine

Rise & Shine: A look inside Detroit’s effort to reduce chronic absenteeism

Good morning!

In the time I’ve been covering Detroit schools, a consistent concern I’ve heard from teachers is the large number of students who just don’t show up for school on a regular basis.

The Detroit school district had a chronic absenteeism rate of 70 percent last school year. It’s a statistic I have a hard time wrapping my brain around. But it’s a reality for teachers and administrators.

There’s an indication things are improving. Superintendent Nikolai Vitti has cited data showing fewer students this school year are chronically absent. That’s encouraging news in the district, given how much Vitti has invested in addressing this issue.

Erin and I collaborated on a story we published this week that looks at the district’s massive effort to get students in school. And while it involves sending attendance agents out to conduct home visits, the effort is even broader. You can read more about it here.

Meanwhile, there’s big news happening at the state level. The State Board of Education on Wednesday selected three finalists for the state superintendent’s job.

The board spent nearly five hours interviewing three of the candidates Wednesday — in addition to three hours Monday interviewing the other two candidates. Read my story to see who has a shot at the job, and why this job is so crucial in the state. The finalists will be interviewed May 7.

Good news alert: Research released Wednesday finds that Detroit high school grads who earned the Detroit Promise scholarship had better outcomes during their first year of community college if they received coaching and financial incentives.

Scroll down for more education news. And have a great Thursday!

Lori Higgins


Rise & Shine is Chalkbeat’s morning digest of education news. Subscribe to have it delivered to your inbox.


ABSENTEEISM Take a look inside the Detroit school district’s effort to combat its high rate of chronic absenteeism among students. Chalkbeat

DOWN TO THREE See who the three finalists are for Michigan’s state schools chief job. Chalkbeat Detroit News MLive

COLLEGE SUCCESS Coaching and financial incentives helped Detroit high school grads who earned a Detroit Promise scholarship succeed. Chalkbeat Detroit News

VIRTUAL EARLY COLLEGE A Michigan virtual school is the first such school in the state to offer an early college program. Associated Press

STUDENT FIGHTING A northern Michigan school district is trying to do something about a big spike in student fighting. WDIV

SOCIAL STUDIES A conversation with a top Michigan education official about the controversy surrounding the revision of the state’s social studies standards for schools. Bridge Magazine

STANDARDS DEBATE Two members of the state education board debate the proposed social studies standards. Michigan Radio

CHILD POVERTY Michigan’s child poverty rate has dropped, but 20 percent still live in poverty. Detroit News

ROBOT BATTLES Don’t miss the world robotics championships taking place the second year in a row at Cobo Hall. Thousands of students from across the world — including Michigan, where robotics is huge — will be competing. Detroit Free Press Detroit News

SCHOOL FINED A Michigan charter school was fined thousands of dollars because its top administrators didn’t have required permits. MLive