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ERIC Number: ED565297
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Absenteeism: Beyond Reporting and beyond Another Special Initiative. Addressing Barriers to Learning Vol. 21, #2
Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA
An estimated five to seven and a half million students miss 18 or more days of school each year, or nearly an entire month or more of school, which puts them at significant risk of falling behind academically and failing to graduate from high school. Every student absence jeopardizes the ability of students to succeed at school and schools to achieve their mission. School attendance is a constant concern in schools. Average daily attendance rates are a common determiner of school funding, so schools funded on the basis of average daily attendance have less resources to do the job. Students who are not at school cannot receive instruction, and school performance indicators suffer. Excessive school absence is a precursor of school dropout. Some youngsters who are truant from school engage in behaviors that are illegal. The negative correlates related to school attendance problems go on and on. One early impact of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) will be increased attention to attendance problems. For many schools attendance will become the additional accountability indicator stressed in ESSA. Under the new act, States will be required to report chronic absenteeism rates for schools, and school districts will be allowed to spend federal dollars on training to reduce absenteeism. Since all schools take attendance, an immediate focus will be on establishing systems for reporting chronic absenteeism (including truancy). At this juncture, the federal government has decided to create a national Every Student, Every Day initiative to "address and eliminate chronic absenteeism". Such special initiatives do focus attention on a problem, but usually only for a brief interval of time. Because they are extraordinarily funded and implemented under exceptional conditions, sustainability beyond two to three years is rare. Replication of major intervention elements on a large scale often is not feasible. While it's hard to argue that more mentors and more public information are anything but good, the reality is that effectively dealing with the problem of chronic absenteeism over the long-run requires a fundamental rethinking of policies and practices. In particular, the need is for a unified, comprehensive, and equitable system that directly addresses barriers to learning, re-engages disconnected students in classroom instruction, and re-engages disconnected families with schools.
Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA. Department of Psychology, Franz Hall, 405 Hilgard Avenue, Box 951563, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563. Tel: 310-825-3634; Fax: 310-206-8716; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA