In Baltimore, When Students Play Hooky It’s the Principals Who Get Detention

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Student absenteeism is alarmingly high in Baltimore City schools, and now 61 principals — almost one third of all principals in the system — are facing disciplinary action. They’re being put on performance improvement plans, which the Baltimore Sun reports “historically have been used as punitive measures that can be precursors to dismissal.”

Baltimore schools interim CEO Tisha Edwards blames the principals for not “owning” their “leadership role” by not doing more to reach out to families and make sure students make it to school.

Edwards pointed out instances when school officials could have notified parents of their kids’ serial absenteeism and didn’t. So perhaps there’s more they could do. But it’s hard to see how this measure, while perhaps helping the district very grim and serious and zero-tolerance-y, will have much practical effect beyond making principals who already have to deal with chronic absenteeism feel even more embattled.


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  1. Why did you use that picture? Is this a problem at City College? I don’t think it is a school with excessive absenteeism.

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