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September 4, 2014

The trouble with truancy

If Woody Allen is right that 80 percent of life is just showing up, then most students at East St. Louis School District 189 are in a world of hurt.

A mind-numbing 66 percent -- two out of every three students -- are chronically truant, meaning they have nine or more unexcused absences in one school year. The problem has gotten worse in the past few years, and no other district in Illinois comes anywhere close to this horrific rate. Truancy can lead to kids dropping out of school before they graduate.

The parents are failing their children by not insisting they attend school, or at least calling school to report absences. One of a parent's most important duties is ensuring his or her children get an education to prepare them for life, college or a career. Failure to do so is a form of child neglect with lifelong ramifications.

A recent Federal Reserve study said people with a college degree earn on average $830,000 more during their lifetime than people with just high school diplomas. What do you suppose a truant or dropout earns?

Sitting in a classroom doesn't guarantee learning, but failing to show up ensures it can't happen.

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