Curious figures on suspension and truancy
Andres Alonso gave so much interesting data to the City Council yesterday that I didn't know where to begin in reporting it. (See my story in today's paper, and stay tuned for more in the coming weeks.) In some cases, though, I have to wonder about the numbers -- and, apparently, so does Alonso. Looking at both the city's truancy and suspension rates over time, there were big drops a few years back with no ready explanation.
Consider these official city figures:
-- In the 2002-2003 school year, there were 13,671 students in the city identified as habitually truant (absent for more than 20 percent of school days). In the 2003-2004 year, however, there were only 9,266 habitual truants.
-- In 2003-2004, that same year that truancy supposedly declined, there were 26,310 incidents in city schools that led to students being suspended. In 2004-2005, there were just 16,625 such incidents.
Alonso was candid with the council, saying he didn't know if the figures reflected real drops in truancy and suspension, or if they reflect a change in bookkeeping practices. But he's only been in his job since July. And I've just been covering the city schools since the summer of 2005. Do any old timers have thoughts on what happened with truancies between 2002 and 2003 and suspensions between 2003 and 2004?
Meanwhile... Want to know the city's top 10 schools for suspension and truancy so far this academic year? Read on.
Schools with the highest suspension rates
1. Gilmor Elementary
2-3 (tie). Dr. Samuel L. Banks High and Furman Templeton Elementary
4. Northwestern High
5. Homeland Security Academy
6. Calverton Elementary/Middle
7. West Baltimore Middle
8. Patterson High
9. Dr. Roland N. Patterson Academy
10-11 (tie). Hazelwood Elementary/Middle and Booker T. Washington Middle
Schools with the highest truancy rates
1. Dr. Roland N. Patterson Academy
2. Lombard Middle
3. Benjamin Franklin Middle
4. Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle
5. Hamilton Middle
6. Diggs-Johnson Middle
7. Canton Middle
8. Calverton Elementary/Middle
9. Southeast Middle
10. William C. March Middle