Attendance falling for LAUSD’s first graders

First, you should know that of course Hispanic and black students will have the highest non-attendance rate.  White students make up LESS than 10% of the students attending LAUSD.  Those families have fled the failed District.  Parents understand that LAUSD distance learning is merely checking the boxes so it looks good when teachers and staff get full pay.  Parents can see that little education is going on.  We already know that kindergarten in LAUSD has a massive loss of enrollment.  The 3% loss in first grade, if true, is minor.  What about the other grades and their enrollment?

“Cumulative attendance rates since the start of the school year show a 7.5% drop in attendance among Black students and a 4.1% decrease among Latino students in the first grade. The rates also went down by 4.2% for English learners, 4% for students with disabilities, 9.6% for foster youths and 13.5% for homeless students.

The data, presented during the superintendent’s weekly community briefing on Monday, Sept. 28, come on the heels of a class-action lawsuit against the district brought by a group of parents alleging that LAUSD’s distance learning program is failing to meet the needs of its most vulnerable students.

Open the schools and see how many show up—if they are still in the area.  O course we do not know how many check in for attendance, leave the computer on and watch TV instead.  That is a number we need.

Attendance falling for LAUSD’s first graders

Blacks, Latinos and highest-needs students report greatest rate drops

By Linh Tat, Daily News,   9/28/20   

The overall attendance rate for first graders in Los Angeles Unified is down 3.7% compared to a year ago — and down by two or three times that rate for some of the highest-needs students — according to the latest data from the district.

Cumulative attendance rates since the start of the school year show a 7.5% drop in attendance among Black students and a 4.1% decrease among Latino students in the first grade. The rates also went down by 4.2% for English learners, 4% for students with disabilities, 9.6% for foster youths and 13.5% for homeless students.

The data, presented during the superintendent’s weekly community briefing on Monday, Sept. 28, come on the heels of a class-action lawsuit against the district brought by a group of parents alleging that LAUSD’s distance learning program is failing to meet the needs of its most vulnerable students.

The latest figures are also consistent with a district report in July, which showed that, at the middle and high school levels, these same subgroups of students were less engaged in remote learning last spring after districts across the state and country shuttered campuses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Superintendent Austin Beutner did not mention the lawsuit during his remarks but, as he has in the past, acknowledged that distance learning is not ideal. The district has also reported a significant decrease in kindergarten enrollment this year, which officials believe is caused by families struggling to keep young children engaged in online learning, families leaving L.A. for more affordable areas or other job opportunities, and families who have opted to keep their kids in childcare until schools reopen.

“Young learners, those learning English, students with learning differences and disabilities and those who were struggling in the classroom before school facilities were closed are facing real challenges with online learning,” Beutner said. “Studies tell us about the ‘summer slide,’ when students regress during a traditional summer break. It’s now been more than six months since students were in schools, and the learning loss for some may be significant.”

Cecily Myart-Cruz, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, said during her update to union members  Friday that UTLA has spoken with representatives for the district about providing one-on-one services to some of the most vulnerable students, but that members are discouraged from volunteering to return to campus until the district provides written safety protocols.

“UTLA is meeting with the district to discuss one-on-one services on campus for our most neediest students,” Myart-Cruz said. “This would be on a volunteer basis and afterschool. We have met with the district, but they have yet to provide a plan with written safety protocols or a clear program description. We will continue talking to the district to ensure a program that is safe and effective.”

Asked shortly after Myart-Cruz’s remarks about the status of the talks, a district spokeswoman would only say that “Los Angeles Unified continues to work on plans for students to return to schools as soon as it’s safe and appropriate to do so.”

Both the district and the teachers union have come under fire by some parents who want to see the return of in-person classes for special-needs students, English learners and other vulnerable populations of students. It’s been two weeks since the county started allowing districts to hold classes for small cohorts of these students, but LAUSD has not pursued that option.

While district officials say they want schools to reopen as soon as possible, Beutner reiterated LAUSD’s position that this cannot happen just yet because the county’s coronavirus infection rate remains too high.

The superintendent also provided an update on the district’s COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program. As of Sunday, nearly 26,100 people in the community had been tested. Of the more than 23,000 people who have received their results, 46 people, or 0.2% of that population, have tested positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles County reported 815 new cases on Sunday, which brought the county’s total to 267,801. Those numbers do not include new cases in Long Beach or Pasadena, however, due to delays in reporting by those health departments over the weekend.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles County reported 663 new coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing the total for the area to 268,455 since the pandemic began. Figures on Mondays are often lower due to a lag in weekend reporting.

Although it does not appear the county experienced a spike in cases after Labor Day weekend, as officials feared would happen, the county won’t know until the state releases new data on Tuesday whether the county has improved enough to move out of the state’s most restrictive tier. The four-tiered system is used to determine which venues can reopen for business and in what manner.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. The attendance drop only tells part of the story. Districts use every strategy to show higher enrollment because it is directly related to the money paid by the state for each day a student “attends” and nothing when they don’t and are not sick. Los Angeles has long fudged on their attendance records and are still really deep in debt. Honesty and significant reductions in expenses might bring them a bit back to reality – not likely.

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