Attorney General’s 2015 Report on California’s Elementary School Truancy & Absenteeism Crisis
California is starting to take notice that improving elementary school attendance is a critical piece of a smart, cost-effective approach to economic development, public health and public safety. The facts are clear: when students are chronically absent from elementary school, they fall behind academically, they are less likely to graduate from high school, and they are more likely to be unemployed, on public assistance, or victims or perpetrators of crime.
This trajectory is far from inevitable; it is a solvable problem. Putting kids on a path to success requires attention to student attendance, particularly in the early years. Research shows that early school attendance is a critical building block to a child’s success.1 Yet, many elementary students miss valuable learning time. These patterns of missing school start young—as early as preschool—and can have lasting, cumulative effects on students’ academic achievement and social development.
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has made reducing elementary school truancy and chronic absence a priority since her time as San Francisco’s District Attorney. She is joined in this work by many key partners, including State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Secretary of Health and Human Services Diana Dooley, and respected education and civil rights leaders across the state. As part of this effort, the Attorney General releases an annual report, In School + On Track, to disseminate effective practices for reducing student absences, track changes in statewide attendance rates, raise awareness about the critical importance of elementary school attendance and call others to action.
To read the full report, click here.