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Report: Stunning Level of Truancy Among MPS Students

Seth Sawyers

There has been a lot of effort spent in recent years to improve the dropout rate in the state’s largest school district.

But after some initial gains, the rate has ticked up again at Milwaukee Public Schools.

A report in the online Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service found that nearly three-quarters of students in MPS high schools were classified as truant, according to the most recent data. And officials are looking for ways to make a difference in that rate.

Reporter Kelly Meyerhofer spoke with Lake Effect's Mitch Teich to share what she's learned in covering the story. 

"There's so many reasons why students are truant," Meyerhofer says. "A lot of them don't feel welcome at school, or there are gangs in the school that make them feel unsafe. There's so many reasons so that's why this problem has only gotten worse in recent years."

Clarification: In the interview itself, Meyerhofer references speaking with a social worker within MPS.  That individual is actually the head of social workers for the district and helped develop MPS's truancy policy.

Audrey Nowakowski hosts and produces Lake Effect. She joined WUWM in 2014.
Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, or NNS, is an online source for objective, professional multimedia reporting on issues in 18 central city Milwaukee communities.