D.C.’s New Emergency Attendance Policy: A Compassionate Plan or Just a Way to Get Kids Over?

“If your school or district has an unusually high rate, it’s time to start asking why. Are socioeconomic factors — poor health, unstable families, high pregnancy rates — to blame?
Are enforcement efforts lacking?
Are the schools perceived as unsafe — or just boring?
And if your school or district has an abnormally low rate, then it’s time to start asking a different set of questions.”
– Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center


The Washington Post‘s Perry Stein reports that the Washington D.C. Public School District has instituted a new, emergency attendance policy to cope with chronic absence by many students—a policy that will also allow some students to graduate this year even though they missed many days of school. The District’s creation of this emergency policy surfaces some serious issues about what it means to go to school, what it means to graduate, and how schools can work with masses of students experiencing the disruptions caused by deep poverty.

It’s an important debate to have, but a graduation crisis is probably not the right context for a thoughtful resolution.

You’ll remember that in Washington, D.C., under Michelle Rhee and her successor Kaya Henderson, teachers’ and principals’ evaluations depended on educators’ capacity to produce metrics-driven deliverables—higher test scores at first, and later an ever-rising high school graduation rate. You’ll remember that…

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Another attack against those on government assistance in Michigan and the people paying for this new state law

Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

Yesterday, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder passed legislation known as the Medicaid Workforce Engagement Act

The title of this legislation was designed to pacify people, since the real focus of this legislation is to make people who receive government assistance with Medicaid be required to work 80 hours a month in order to continue receiving this assistance.

There are several exceptions listed within the newly adopted legislation, but according to an estimate cited in the Detroit News, “540,000 able-bodied adults” would be required to fulfill the work requirements.

Organizations that are part of the Grand Rapids Power Structure, like the GR Chamber of Commerce and the West Michigan Policy Forum, endorsed the legislation.  On their facebook page, the WMPF stated:

The West Michigan Policy Forum supports this plan, as it will help employers struggling to find workers fill open jobs, and put people in need of assistance…

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