Not making it to school is a problem and in Michigan that problem is chronic. The Great Lakes State gets a failing grade when it comes to school truancy.

How Bad is Michigan's Truancy Problem?

Nationally, Michigan ranks fourth in the US for student absences, according to a report compiled by the New York Times. But drilling down further reveals that Michigan lands on top of the heap for truancy among the nine most-populated states.

Here's that breakdown:

  1. Michigan — 39%
  2. New York — 33%
  3. Florida — 32%
  4. California, Illinois, Ohio — 30%

This means that of Michigan's 1.3 million school students, roughly 500,000 are regularly absent.

Michigan Schools Battling Other Issues

Don Wotruba is the Executive Director of the Michigan Association of School Boards. In the video below, he tells WLNS-TV that schools have been focused on solving other issues, and efforts to curb truancy in Michigan are not what they were before the pandemic.

“It has been a problem historically,” Wotruba said. “I think schools have had so many other issues — trying to find teachers, trying to keep track of kids — I don’t know if the truancy focus has been as it was pre-COVID.”

Students Ghosting School

But Wotruba goes on to say the problem is actually worse. He notes that in recent years, schools have lost track of approximately 85,000 students, pupils that have simply fallen off school districts' radar.

The New York Times data is based on data compiled from the last school year.


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