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Detroit schools pull about 55% of enrolled students on first day

Roy Roberts
Roy Roberts

Officials for the Detroit Public Schools say 43,660 students attended the first day of school Tuesday, out of 79,617 enrolled.

The district doesn’t expect that many kids to ever show up. They’ve set an attendance target of about 65,000 students for the school year.

It’s unclear how many students simply didn’t make it to school, and how many transferred to other districts.

DPS Emergency Manager Roy Roberts acknowledges that some students may also have stayed home, hoping to transfer. The district changed its open enrollment policy this year.

Roberts says that was a necessary move.

“I know there have been a few complaints. I’ll accept those. We need to get some stability in this system. And there’s no way we can have a teacher in front of every student if we let students move anywhere they want to the first few days.”

Roberts says the district has beefed up on academics, safety and technology this year, but all that is in jeopardy if kids don’t show up: "Missing school costs DPS, and decreases resources for all kids.”

Roberts says he still believes the district can hit the 65,000 mark. Officials will make phone calls, send out attendance agents, and otherwise “re-double efforts” to account for the missing kids.


Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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