Some CPS high schools say attendance is half during remote learning

An ABC7 I-Team data investigation has found several Chicago Public High Schools where nearly half of the students are not showing up for remote learning.

Video Transcript

- We're literally losing our youth.

WILL JONES: The ABC 7 Eye team obtained CPS attendance data through a Freedom of Information Act request. District-wide, the data shows K through 8 schools had better attendance than high schools so far this school year. K through 8 schools averaged 92% attendance, while an average of 81% of CPS high school students were in attendance.

JAMEY MAKOWSKI: Some of our young people are caring for younger siblings. So they're trying to do their work and also care for siblings, while parents are not in the home.

WILL JONES: Some schools have had struggles with attendance during remote learning and fell far below the district average for attendance rate. Austin College and Career Academy High School averaged only 44% attendance this school year, according to CPS data analyzed by the Eye team. Manley Career Academy High School in East Garfield Park averaged 57% attendance.

Frederick Douglass Academy high school in Austin, 60%. Both Spry Community Links High School in Little Village and Hirsch Metropolitan High School in Greater Grand Crossing averaged 61% attendance.

Germaine Pullen is a father of a senior at Austin College and Career Academy. He says the school's low remote learning attendance rate isn't surprising.

GERMAINE PULLEN: As I've actually watched, my eyes just be out of it. You know, it's like they trying to get into it, but it's not the same thing.

WILL JONES: CPS said they invested millions of dollars to support remote and in-person learning, but the "Disparate academic and attendance outcomes" highlight the need to expand in-person learning options to more students.

DAR'TAVOUS DORSEY: We all have to come together to grapple with how we can address what took place because of the pandemic with these students, especially the students of color.

WILL JONES: Those who work with young people and look at education policy express concern that some students could be checked out for good.

DAR'TAVOUS DORSEY: We can get all of our scholars back into the building. How many is willing to go back?

JAMEY MAKOWSKI: Boy, do we have a long road ahead of us. We have some hard work.

WILL JONES: We have an interactive way to see attendance rates for all CPS schools on our website, ABC7Chicago.com.