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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.

The 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. States submitted ESSA implementation plans to U.S. Department of Education. More than 70 percent of states chose some form of chronic absence as an indicator.

Our blog series, written in 2017-2018, highlights attendance-related issues that emerged as states worked through the complexities of implementing ESSA.

Join a forum for colleagues interested in advancing state level policy and practice to improve student attendance and reduce chronic absence.

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

Resources
  • The Data Quality Campaign, Learning Heroes and National PTA developed best practices for creating state report cards that are transparent and easy to use for families and communities. Disaggregated Data: Not Just a Box Checking Exercise, underscores that disaggregated data is key to identifying opportunity gaps and confronting persistent barriers to student success.

  • The National Association of State Boards of Education released a policy brief, Examining Chronic Absence through a Student Health Lens. Developed in collaboration with Attendance Works and the Healthy Schools Campaign, the brief recommends state boards examine data on student health in their state and suggests questions for state boards to ask and actions they can take to address chronic absence.

  • 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.