Listen online to Chicago Public Radio’s 3-part series on truancy in Rockford

CHICAGO—Why are so many kids cutting school in Rockford? Chicago Public Radio’s Jay Field reports in a three-part series that is now available to listen to online at:

This special series aired on Chicago Public Radio last week during Morning Edition and Eight Forty-Eight. A Web exclusive audio slideshow of Part 3 is also available at:

Rockford Truancy series

PART 1: Rockford has the dubious distinction of having a truancy rate that is more than four times the state average. About a year ago, the City Council put a daytime curfew in place, hoping to catch kids cutting class. In this first of three reports, Chicago Public Radio’s Jay Field sets out to learn what’s causing kids to skip school and what the truancy problem says about Rockford itself.

PART 2: Many people in Rockford see the truancy problem as a symptom of the wider economic decline that has battered the city for more than a decade. Rockford’s new mayor says revitalizing the city will help cut down on truancy and other social problems. But such improvements don’t happen overnight. So in the meantime, it’s up to home school counselors like Gary Matus to try to save the next generation of Rockford students.

PART 3: Rockford has taken a get-tough approach in its fight against school truancy. But last year, the number of kids cutting school went up AGAIN—despite police enforcement of a new daytime curfew. The jump underscores just how hard it is to effectively combat the problem. The final part of the series about Rockford’s truancy crisis looks at how the truancy problem has forced some schools to rethink their approach to education.

From the Aug. 9-15, 2006, issue

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