Attorney General Kamala D. Harris this week announced a package of legislation to help local school districts and communities address California’s elementary school truancy crisis.
Each year, an estimated one million elementary school students are truant, and 250,000 elementary school students miss 18 or more school days at a cost of $1.4 billion in lost funds to California school districts.
< p>Joined by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, State Senator Bill Monning and Assemblymembers Raul Bocanegra, Rob Bonta, Joan Buchanan, Isadore Hall and Chris Holden, Harris announced her sponsorship of five bills that will help schools, parents and government effectively intervene when children are chronically absent and improve local school districts’ and counties’ ability to track attendance patterns.
“California’s Constitution guarantees our children the right to an education, yet our elementary schools face a truancy crisis,” Harris said. “When children in kindergarten through sixth grade miss school, they fall behind and too many never catch up. These bills modernize attendance monitoring and build the support schools, parents and communities need to get California’s children to class.”
The legislation will:
Assist schools and counties as they work with parents to address the core reasons behind truancy and chronic absence.
Provide local school districts and counties tools to comply with attendance tracking requirements in the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), state truancy mandates and state and federal reporting requirements.
Modernize state and local systems to track and prevent truancy and chronic absence.
Ensure that schools, districts, counties and the state can evaluate the success of interventions to combat truancy and chronic absence.
“Putting our children on the right path starts with making sure they are in school, and requires that we all work together to ensure that happens. That means developing the lines of communication between schools, parents and law enforcement to address the issue—which is what AB 2141 does,” Assemblymember Bonta said.