The majority nonwhite public schooling system in America has been struck by “chronic absenteeism” and the black city of Detroit leads the field with a student absenteeism rate of nearly 60 percent, a new study has shown.
In majority black Washington DC, at least 33 percent of students are also “chronically absent,” while American Indian students in Washington state and Alaska have chronic absentee rates of around 25 percent.
The study did not, of course, point out that whites have been a minority of US public school children since 2014, when, according to a report by the National Center for Education (NCES), nonwhites—Hispanics, Asians, African American, American Indians, and “multiracial individuals” already accounted for 50.3 percent of public school students.
Broken down by grade levels, nonwhites made up 51 percent of pre-kindergarteners to 8th graders and 48 percent of 9th to 12th graders.
Given the US government’s notoriously inaccurate system of racial classification which relies on self-identification and which routinely classes large numbers of Hispanics as “white,” the true figures are likely to be higher than the 2014 estimate.
According to the new AP analysis, the national average of chronic absenteeism was 13 percent, or about 6.5 million students, the Education Department said.
Of the 100 largest school districts by enrollment, Detroit had the highest rate of chronic absenteeism. Nearly 58 percent of students were chronically absent in the 2013–2014 school year.
According to AP’s analysis, girls were just as likely as boys to habitually miss school.
Only one in seven public K-12 public schools nationwide reported having not a single chronically absent student that year.
Chronic absenteeism is one of several topics covered in the data collection. It also looked at school discipline and high-rigor course offerings.
Other figures from the report:
—Black preschool children are 3.6 times as likely to get one or more out-of-school suspensions as their white counterparts.
—Black children represent 19 percent of preschoolers, yet they account for 47 percent of preschool kids getting suspended.
—White students make up 41 percent of preschoolers, and 28 percent of preschool kids with suspensions.
—Nationwide, almost half of high schools offered classes in calculus, and more than three-quarters offered Algebra II.
—33 percent of high schools with substantial black and Latino enrollment offered calculus. That compares to 56 percent of high schools with low numbers of black and Latino children that offered calculus. Similar gaps were seen for physics, chemistry, and Algebra II.