- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 17, 2011

Check this out.

There’s a girl in the D.C. foster care system who has not attended classes at all this school year. Imagine that. Looks like the silent epidemic claims another child.

What will she become once she’s all grown up?

A: A couch potato who sucks up daytime television’s baby-daddy-mama drama.

B: A successful and caring mom who juggles career and home life.

C: A struggling mom who makes sure her kids go to school and do their homework.

D: None of the above.

This girl, a topic of discussion during a D.C. hearing on school truancy on Wednesday, is not a truant, a kid who ambles into and out of schoolhouses when in the mood.

No, the anecdotal storyline, which was relayed at the hearing by D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander, makes it sound like this girl, who I’ll refer to as Girl T (as in troubled), is either a dropout or in serious domestic trouble. Either way she needs to be rescued.

Kids drop out of school because we let them.

We make up excuses — peer pressure, family problems, illness, pregnancy, substance abuse, boredom and self-esteem. Bureaucrats call them “pervasive underlying issues.”

Pull an excuse out of the air, and a bureaucrat will add it to the list.

And when it comes to throwing resources at the dropout problem, the D.C. government, like most bureaucracies, is as splintered and resourceful as they come.

There are several agencies — city police and transit police, school officials and child welfare officials — responsible for corralling youths who aren’t in school and shoveling them back into class.

By school and police officials’ count, Girl T and 12,000 other D.C. students have at least 15 days of unexcused absences so far this year, and 4,705 of them wound up in the hands of police.

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