Nearly 32,000 — or approximately 1 in 8 — Chicago public school students in kindergarten through eighth grade missed four weeks of class or more during the 2010-11 school year, according to a Chicago Tribune investigation. The paper analyzed internal attendance data for about 247,000 elementary school students from 2010-11, the most recent figures available. It examined both excused and unexcused absences, as well as gaps in enrollment for students who remained in the district. Among the report’s findings: the trend of missed classroom time tends to begin early. During the 2010-11 school year, 19 percent of the city’s kindergartners were officially listed as chronic truants because they recorded nine or more unexcused absences. According to the Tribune, the extent of the problem is often masked by school policies that dictate a child only be counted as absent if he or she is actively enrolled…

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staff and wire services reports