State education policy is especially important because districts and schools rely upon states to specify how key concepts are defined and generally carried out. For attendance, states determine the age of compulsory education, how chronic absence and truancy is defined and addressed, how a day of attendance is defined, and whether attendance (in the form of average daily attendance or membership count) is used to allocate funding. State guidance, support and policy can promote action at scale across school districts. Affecting state policy is very doable, especially if key stakeholders can work in partnership with State Education Agencies to develop state guidance, policies and training.

Read our blog series highlighting attendance-related issues that are emerging as states work through the complexities of implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). States were required to submit plans to implement the ESSA by September 18, 2017. Remarkably, more than 70 percent of states chose some form of chronic absence as an indicator. Find the blog series here.

Find out what is happening at the state level by clicking on the state name in the menu at right.

Resources
  • The Education Commission of the States prepared this report on compulsory education ages in all 50 states.

  • The Council for of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) developed Principles of Effective School Improvement, a set of principles to inform how states design effective systems to improve low-performing schools and provide an equitable education for all students.

  • The Council for of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) released Leading with Equity, a series of commitments to help state education chiefs take action to achieve educational equity.

  • Our brief, Chronic Absence: Our Top Pick for the ESSA School Quality or Student Success Indicator, makes the case that the chronic absence rate, either alone or as a part of an index, is among the best measures that states could choose to fulfill this requirement.

  • Find additional resources for states related to implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act in Federal Policy.

  • Attendance Works and Healthy Schools Campaign released this report in September 2015:  Mapping the Early Attendance Gap.  This brief encourages states to dig deep into their attendance data and determine the who, what, when, where and why of their chronic absence problem.