04/28/2014 09:42 am ET Updated Apr 28, 2014

Truancy, Absenteeism A Chronic Problem In D.C. Schools


When students at the District’s Simon Elementary show up for school on time, they reach for a numbered index card. It’s their ticket for that day’s attendance raffle.

The prizes are small — a ruler, a calculator, a bag of candy — but they are enough to trigger shrieks of celebration each morning in the cafeteria, and administrators hope they also are enough to help nudge more children through the front door of the schoolhouse. The reward program is one of the more visible parts of a much broader effort to tackle rampant truancy at Simon and other schools across the city.

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