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Valley Public Radio Staff
Tue March 11, 2014
Lawmakers Seek to Address California's "Truancy Crisis"
California lawmakers say the state is facing a truancy crisis among elementary school students. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento on a package of legislation introduced on Monday that’s meant to combat the problem.
Skipping school can mean a lot more for students than just failing a test. California Attorney General Kamala Harris says it can cause kids to fall behind and ultimately drop out of high school.
Harris joined state lawmakers in introducing a package of legislation designed to curb truancy among elementary school students. She says showing up in class is critical to a student’s future success.
Harris: “If a child, at the end of third grade, is not at reading level, they are four times more likely than other students to be a high school dropout.”
Harris’ office estimates one million elementary students are truant each year, with a quarter of those missing at least 18 days of school. Truant students cost school districts more than one billion dollars a year in lost state funds.
Among other things, the bills would help districts comply with truancy tracking requirements and work with parents to address causes of truancy.