A “Simple Plan” to Reduce Chronic Absenteeism

A “Simple Plan” to Reduce Chronic Absenteeism

June 6, 2019

In Governing, J. Brian Charles reports that chronic absenteeism “plagues” schools across the nation, with roughly 14% of students chronically absent over the 2013-2014 academic year. But there’s a simple answer to this problem, he argues. “When kids are absent, schools are required by state law to notify parents. In California, the notification letter was weighed down with legal language and warnings about the consequences of truancy.” However, by tweaking “the tone and the look of the letter has helped reduce chronic absenteeism in the state’s San Mateo County by 15 percent.” ESSA can (and likely will) also be helpful on this issue. As Charles notes, under the federal law, 36 states have decided to use absenteeism as a non-academic metric.