- Connecticut’s Lieutenant Governor convened a mandated Interagency Council for Ending the Achievement Gap to address a master plan focused on closing the state’s achievement gap. The council works to align efforts across education, early childhood, health, housing, child welfare, social services, juvenile justice and other state agencies. Chronic absence is one of the key items addressed.
- The Connecticut State Department of Education recently launched the Next Generation Accountability System, a new, broader set of performance measures that gives a more comprehensive and holistic picture of how schools and students are performing. Chronic absenteeism is one of 12 indicators, includes all grades K-12 and is measured separately for vulnerable student subgroups including English Language learners, students with disabilities and students who are economically disadvantaged.
Legislation and Policy
In 2016, the Connecticut State Board of Education adopted Ensuring Equity and Excellence for All Connecticut Students, a five-year plan that includes decreased rates of chronic absenteeism as an outcome and will strengthen efforts to reduce the problem.
Chronic absence is a key indicator in Connecticut’s annual results-based accountability report card that is used to evaluate state policies and programs affecting children. A leadership committee appointed by the General Assembly’s Committee on Children facilitates its implementation. This committee has a designated strategic action group that serves as a centralizing force for existing initiatives and promising new practices to address chronic absenteeism. The committee also promotes communication and collaboration between critical state agency and community-based partners.
In 2015, the state approved Public Act 15-225, An Act Concerning Chronic Absenteeism, which created an official definition of chronic absence that is consistent with the research-based definition. The law requires district and school-level attendance teams to be established in areas where chronic absence rates are high. It also requires the development of a Chronic Absenteeism Prevention and Intervention Guide.