Students are skipping so much school after two years of shutdowns that schools are trying to beg them back with gift cards, pep rallies, and insect-eating stunts

Apr 20th

A lot of us warned policymakers that shutting down school for a long time was going to have devastating short-, medium- and long-term consequences. As the old saying goes: Boy, do we hate being right all the time.

"Chronic absence has skyrocketed" during the pandemic, said Hedy Chang, the director of Attendance Works, a national group that promotes solutions to chronic absenteeism, which been linked to weaker academic performance and can predict whether a student is more likely to drop out before finishing high school.

So what are schools doing to try and solve this crisis?

Folks, this is just embarrassing:

Now, unsettled by the continuing shock waves of a pandemic, even more students appear to be falling through the cracks. And district employees — stretched increasingly thin by understaffing and absences of their own — are grasping for creative ways to lure students back.

Some are offering night classes. Others are giving gift cards for groceries. At least one has eaten insects.

Yeah, eating insects will bring them back in droves.

I mean, they can just stay at home and watch someone do that on YouTube. Why would they go back to school for that?

Some school officials have decided, incredibly, that a pep rally will lure kids back to school. Sure, let's host a school function that was most recently in style when Dwight Eisenhower was president, that'll do it.

And how did that go?

When McDonough Middle School in Hartford, Conn., held a pep rally to encourage student attendance last month, about 16 percent of the school's students were marked absent.

Close, but no cigar! Although attendance-takers have to take what they can get these days:

Still, it was not a bad turnout for a district where more than 40 percent of the students have been chronically absent this year.

Hey, maybe next time they can combine the pep rally and the bug-eating!

P.S. Now treat yourself to our viral video "How to speak Bidenese" 😁👇

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