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Don't Miss School, Get Laptops and Shoes

By Joanna Miller on May 18, 2006 2:50PM

attendance.JPGChicagoist has long been a fan of working smart, and we figured out pretty early on how to do this. We got good grades in school while still maximizing our allowed absences, particularly on any day that we knew would involve “the video” or a demonstration with a banana. We wanted no part of that.

So when awards ceremony time rolled around each year, we were always irritated when we received a tiny plaque for making the honor roll while the perfect attendance kids walked away with giant trophies, as if they’d won the World Series. Suck ups.

There may have been some kindred spirits in the audience at a Chicago Public Schools awards banquet yesterday when students with perfect attendance were presented with laptops and Nike shoes. Nine students who completed 12 years of perfect attendance will be able to design their own shoes. CPS CEO Arne Duncan said these kids showed a “heroic commitment to their education.” No missed days in 12 years? They must have some heroic immune systems too.

Don’t get us wrong, we think it’s great that kids are being encouraged to go to school and stay in school, and we know Chicago schools don’t have an easy time getting kids in the door. So if the promise of laptops and Nikes keeps them coming back, we’re all for it.

laptop.jpgAs of 2003, CPS had a citywide attendance rate of 92.2 percent and had lowered its one-year dropout rate to 12.3 percent from 15.9 percent in 1993. And they’re obviously working to lower it even more. And for that, we think they’re awesome.

We’re just saying, if there was kid in the back row who made the honor roll despite a bout with bronchitis and a few strategically scheduled dentist appointments, wondering why she didn’t get a laptop too – we know exactly how you feel.