September 6, 2003 |
Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham offered the city's public school students a carrot yesterday. And then she and Philadelphia schools chief executive Paul G. Vallas showed off a great big stick. At a Center City news conference, Abraham and Vallas announced a donation of school supplies - including pens, calculators, notebooks and crayons - for more than 500 needy students funded by Abraham's Urban Genesis nonprofit corporation. But, flanked by three City Council members, prosecutors, and a school law enforcement official, the pair devoted most of their appearance to touting anti-truancy measures aimed at reducing absenteeism among the system's 200,000 students.
March 19, 2003 |
It took a day before her father was able to post bail, leaving her to spend an uncomfortable night in the Delaware County prison. She still faces fines and more time in court. Her travails result not so much from what she has done, but what she has failed to do: ensure that her child goes to school. The woman's 15-year-old son, the oldest of four children, is a chronic truant from Upper Darby High School. Through February, he had missed 66 days. That's a dangerous thing to do in the Upper Darby School District, where truancy is taken very seriously.
March 12, 2003
IF TODAY is a typical day, 15,000 desks in the city's public schools will be empty, because of students playing hookey. That's right: Fifteen thousand. And these empty desks and chairs represent a lot more than a whopping waste of taxpayer money - based on per- pupil spending, daily truancy represents over a half million dollars a day, thrown out the window. These truants are also potent pictures of something far more disturbing: too many absentee parents who don't care enough to make sure their kids get to school.
March 10, 2003 |
Praising parents one moment and wagging a stern finger at them the next, Mayor Street said yesterday that legal guardians should participate more in public education. At the very least, he implored, parents must make sure their children do not cut school. Those who can't manage that much should be "punished and disciplined. " "I think that we should be hauling some of these parents into court," Street said at the "Year of the Child" celebration, an annual event held yesterday at the Liacouras Center at Temple University.
February 19, 2003 |
Lorie Moore was in sixth grade when she first skipped a day of school, and she typed an excuse note on the family's new typewriter. "I told the teacher my mother allowed me to type it," said Moore, who went on to play hooky 25 or so days more in high school. (But shhh, don't tell her mother.) Fast-forward 30 years. Moore, now 41 and a parent of two school-age children, is on the front lines of the Philadelphia School District's latest tactic to combat truancy. As one of about 170 parent truant officers, she walks the city streets where she grew up and visits the homes of wayward students who have not shown up for school and have no excuse.
November 9, 2002 |
A dozen community groups and other agencies were selected yesterday to hire and oversee parents to act as truancy officers as part of Philadelphia's campaign to reduce the number of students who skip school. Twenty-six groups had applied for the job. Those chosen include social-service agencies and faith-based organizations. District Chief Executive Officer Paul G. Vallas, who announced the program last month, said the parent officers would be his "foot soldiers" in the fight to curtail truancy.
November 4, 2002
It's important to keep an open mind My own impression of the TV terrorism "experts" that Lillian Swanson warns her readers to be wary of ("Media, police and public are in this together," Oct. 28) is that many of them are actually far more interested in terrorizing a captive audience with gloom and doom and perpetuating negative stereotypes than in anything else. We all really should be very wary of white vans - and I don't mean that white vans in and of themselves are a threat but that a white van was easily lodged in all our minds and white vans one after another distracted each and every one of us from seeing the real killer hiding in the shadows.
October 30, 2002
RESPONDING to truancy with coercive efforts to enforce the attendance of chronically absent high school students is a misguided, wasteful and counterproductive effort. Students who routinely choose to avoid school do so out of a profound lack of interest and investment in the educational offerings provided to them. The only way to ensure that students will attend school regularly and benefit from the time they spend there is to offer a pedagogical product that is considered by disaffected young people to be enriching, gratifying and respectful.
October 25, 2002 |
In an effort to boost attendance and academic achievement, the Philadelphia School District plans to hire about 250 parents to help find truant students in their communities. The parents will be hired and trained by a dozen community and faith-based organizations, which the district plans to appoint early in November. The parents will earn $8 to $10 an hour and work 20 to 30 hours a week. The new force of truant officers will begin work Dec. 2. District chief executive Paul Vallas provided these details yesterday as he laid out his plan to crack down on truancy in the 200,000-student district.
October 23, 2002
THIS MORNING, 15,000 chairs are empty in schools all across the city. Not from sickness or excused absences, but from kids cutting school. If you think that's not your problem, think again. After all, your taxes are helping to pay for those students to get educated. At current annual school district spending levels of $8,149 per student, every absence means a wasted $45 for that day. With 15,000 students cutting school on any given day, the total cost of truancy is a staggering $675,000 a day. Hooky-players cost us $13 million a month.