District officials are considering if attendance rule is unfair to students

EDUCATION | After WAMU and NPR reported that many of Ballou High School’s graduating class should not have passed due to truancy, DC officials have launched their own investigation to discover what happened. Now officials are scrutinizing a rule that allows teachers to mark students absent for the whole day if students miss their first class. (WaPo, 12/29)

The 80/20 rule was intended to emphasize the importance of being on campus the entire day, but the school chancellor, teachers and students testified at a recent D.C. Council education hearing that extremely low attendance rates in city schools are misleading — with the rule partly to blame.

Chancellor Antwan Wilson said the policy discourages some chronically tardy students from showing up to school. If students can’t arrive at school by the opening bell, he argued, they may deem it pointless to come at all if they are going to be considered absent for the entire day anyway.

HIV/AIDS | In an op-ed, Channing Wickham, executive director of the Washington AIDS Partnership (an initiative of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers), and Walter Smith, executive director of DC Appleseed, reflect on the progress of DC’s 90/90/90/50 Plan to end HIV and how the city can do more to achieve this goal. (WaPo, 12/22)

CHILDREN/FOSTER CARE | Sherry Lachman, founder and executive director of Foster America, discusses the need for cross-sector partnerships to make supporting children in foster care, whom she calls the youngest victims of the opioid epidemic, a priority in the US. (NYT, 12/28)

Related: A few years ago, Tamara Copeland, WRAG’s president, called for the philanthropic sector to invest more in child welfare to improve the lives of abused children and those in foster care.

PUBLIC SAFETYHomicides were down in the region, but 2017 was marked by sobering teen deaths (WaPo, 12/31)

HOUSING | The DC Department of Housing and Community Development has released proposed regulations for an almost ten-year-old law that allows the city to purchase affordable housing units that are at risk of disappearing. (WCP, 12/28)

WORKFORCE | How this Maryland community bank is helping marijuana dispensaries open and maintain their businesses. (WaPo, 1/2)

ARTS & HUMANITIES | This Saturday, the National Building Museum will be hosting 1968: Shaping the District, a free event that will mark the 50th anniversary of the year and include walking tours, photography exhibits, oral history workshops and more.

HOMELESSNESSEven during one of the year’s coldest weeks, some homeless people are refusing to come inside (WaPo, 12/29)

Can you draw these logos from memory?

– Kendra