The Craig Fahle Show

The United Way's Mike Tenbusch on Truancy

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Mike Tenbusch,the United Way of Southeastern Michigan's vice president for educational preparedness, shares with Craig Fahle how his organization is reducing chronic absenteeism in a series of high schools its working to turn around.

"In one year, the turnaround schools in Detroit reduced the number of chronically absent students (the leading indicator of high school success) by 25%--a “statistically significant” result, according to the evaluator. "It’s even more significant when you consider that the trend of chronically absent students was probably going in the wrong direction for most of the last forty years. We dramatically changed the trend line in just one year.''

UWSEM has set a current goal of ensuring " that the incoming freshmen class and returning sophomore class at existing turnaround high schools maintain a projected graduation rate of at least 80% by missing less than 20 days of school.''

Tenbusch was also co-founder of Think Detroit,a nonprofit which provided summer sports leagues and offered refurbished computers to students. In 2006, Think Detroit, once lauded by former First Lady Laura Bush, merged with the Detroit Police Athletic League to become Think Detroit PAL.