APS Has Problems Educating Students

According to Zsombor Peter of the Albuquerque Journal ($1M Spent on Truancy, With Little To Show for It, Apr. 22, 2008), the state government has recently released a report documenting that 67% of APS high school students are classified as habitually truant from class. The state high school average is 33%.
In his 2003 “state of the state” address, Governor Richardson “propos[ed] a $1 million appropriation for truancy prevention.” Through the Governor’s Statewide Truancy Prevention Program, the APS district was awarded the most out of any district in 2005, $40,000. It now appears that almost 7 out of 10 high school students miss more than 10 days of instruction out of the school year.
The state’s truancy prevention money is not being invested wisely in the Albuquerque Public Schools. There are obviously circumstances that contribute to a student’s absenteeism that the district is either overlooking or not effectively addressing.
We were all 16 at one time or another and most of us have skipped a class or two at some point in our lives, but the fact is that our public schools are not producing a product — even when it is offered for free and officers of the law attempt to force attendance — that most “consumers” deem worthy of their time. This truancy problem persists despite the abundant documentation of the importance of a high school diploma.
There may not be a silver bullet solution to the truancy problem, but we could start by tailoring our educational system to the needs of students rather than attempting to force students into a regimented and very institutional public school setting. Charter schools are a step forward, but this is yet another sign pointing to the need for school choice.