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D.C. Lawmakers Explore Options To Curb Truancy In DCPS

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David Catania chairs the Committee on Education, is trying to address the school skipping endemic in DCPS.
Jared Angle
David Catania chairs the Committee on Education, is trying to address the school skipping endemic in DCPS.

D.C. officials are trying to tackle truancy in city schools, but they are finding that there are no easy answers.

The truancy numbers are staggering. City officials say that at some D.C. schools, half the students miss more than 20 school days a year. And as it became clear during yesterday's, three hour hearing, there are no quick solutions.

Council member David Catania, who now chairs the Committee on Education, listened to school officials detail the latest anti-truancy programs.

"I'm not hearing anything that is giving me any reason to believe that in the next few months I'm going to see historic improvements in this subject. I'm frustrated," Catania says.

Catania is working on legislation to toughen the city's truancy laws, including possible sanctions for parents.

And he says city agencies need to do a better job of sharing data; DCPS, court social services, the attorney general's office, and the police department. The truancy department of the latter picked up nearly 1,900 students who were skipping school over the first half of the school year.

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