Children missing out on important parts of their schooling is a serious problem. Kids who can’t read or write proficiently grow up into disadvantaged young adults.
To discourage truancy, state law and regulations have put in place an elaborate mechanism to hold parents and primary caregivers responsible for getting their kids back to their desks. One key to the system, though, is being able to find the kids’ parents or caregivers.
A recent review of St. Louis public school documents obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch discovered that more than one-third of the student records of absent children lacked the names of their parents — and that some of the records also lacked home addresses and telephone numbers.
Given the documentation required to enroll a child in a Missouri public school in the first place — birth certificate, proof of immunization, proof of residency — how can such key information as the name of a primary caregiver not be in the school district’s possession?