May 6th, 2011
California Forum: Taking Attendance Seriously
If you’re in California, mark May 19 on your calendar. State Superintendent Tom Torlakson is hosting a policy forum on school attendance that will feature remarks by national dropout expert and Johns Hopkins researcher Bob Balfanz and Attendance Works’ own Hedy Chang, as well as local policymakers, educators and community leaders.
The policy forum which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Sacramento, will look at what schools and communities are doing to identify and address chronic absence; why the issue is a priority in these lean budget times; and how local and state policy can help identify chronically absent students and support them especially in the early years.
The event, which is free, is targeted at state and local policymakers, including legislators, superintendents, school board members and senior leaders in service agencies and nonprofits.
The event, which is free, is targeted at state and local policymakers, including legislators, superintendents, school board members and senior leaders in service agencies and nonprofits. To RSVP, send organization, title and email to: Juanita Baca, Children Now, firstname.lastname@example.org, (916) 443-1410
Helping to organize the event are the members of the California Absence and Attendance Partnership, the advocacy coalition that successfully pushed for passage of legislation last year calling for inclusion of attendance information on the state’s longitudinal student data system, if federal funding is available. California is one of five states nationally that does not include the data, making it hard to track students who move between districts or to do long-term analysis of attendance trends.
Lack of funding has kept the state from adding the data. Budget cuts are also affecting efforts to boost attendance in San Francisco, where administrators sent pink slips this month to nearly half the teachers aides who help track absences and truancy.