Problems with California’s database of school chronic absenteeism rates could be more widespread than the state Department of Education previously acknowledged. CDE has recently begun adding notes to school chronic absenteeism data posted on its DataQuest website warning that the statistics may be unreliable. A page for San Francisco Unified, a district in which 83 schools reported zero absences, now includes a note that reads, “This district has notified the CDE that they have inaccurately reported data for one or more cells on this report. Please contact the school district for details.”
Those are not the only schools for which absenteeism data collected by the state could be incorrect, however. A spokeswoman for Pajaro Valley Unified in Watsonville, near Santa Cruz, said the absence rate at Renaissance High was not 0 percent, as the database reports, but 67 percent. Greg Stevenson, principal of both Sierra Mountain High and Carpe Diem High, two continuation schools in Petaluma Unified, north of San Francisco, listed with 98 percent chronic absence rates, said the correct figures are 59 and 64 percent for those schools, respectively.
The school officials could not explain the discrepancy.