Report Released on California Elementary School Truancy Crisis
California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris unveiled the first state-wide statistics on California’s truancy crisis which reveal that, last year alone, 1 million elementary school students were truant and 250,000 elementary school students missed 18 or more school days at a cost of $1.4 billion in lost funds to California school districts.
These findings are part of a report, In School and On Track, issued today by Attorney General Harris in Los Angeles where statewide education, public policy and law enforcement leaders were convened to discuss this crisis and identify concrete solutions.
“The California Constitution guarantees every child the right to an education, yet we are failing our youngest children, as early as kindergarten,” Attorney General Harris said. “These are children as young as five years old who are out of school, falling behind, and too many of them never catch up. This crisis is not only crippling for our economy, it is a basic threat to public safety. It’s time for accountability and to craft real solutions at every level – from parents to school districts, to law enforcement – to solve this problem.”
According to the report, elementary school truancy is at the root of the state’s chronic criminal justice problems. According to the report, missing large amounts of school is one of the strongest predictors of dropping-out, even more so than suspensions or test scores. Annually, dropouts cost California taxpayers an estimated $46.4 billion in incarceration, lost productivity and lost taxes.
- In California last year, 1 million elementary school students were truant and 250,000 students missed 18 or more school days.
- In some California elementary schools, 92% of students were truant last year.
- California school districts are losing $1.4 billion in funding due to truant students.
- Solutions from In School and On Track:
- California must create a statewide system to collect student attendance records.
- School districts must improve the way truant students are monitored.
- School administrators must meet with parents or guardians immediately when a child is truant.
- Law enforcement must focus on early, positive intervention to empower parents and students.
- Parents must be held accountable, including prosecution in the most severe cases.