Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Country Cannot Afford the High Cost of Truancy, Says New CAP Report
Press Release

RELEASE: Country Cannot Afford the High Cost of Truancy, Says New CAP Report

Listen to a recording of the Press Call featuring California Attorney General Kamala Harris, CAP’s Carmel Martin, and CAP’s Tiffany Miller here.

Washington, D.C. — As the United States undergoes drastic demographic shifts, the nation’s population, schools, and labor force cannot afford the high cost of truancy. This is the conclusion reached by a new report released today by the Center for American Progress. The report, “The High Cost of Truancy,” outlines the many consequences of truancy, explores the students most at risk of chronic absenteeism, examines how and why students become disconnected from schools, and identifies state measures that have potential for expansion across the country.

“Debates about our nation’s public education system are moot if our children are not in class,” said California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. “Truancy is a major problem in California and nationwide, with significant economic and public safety costs. This report should serve as a call to action, because every child deserves an equal education.”

The report presents concrete and actionable federal, state, and local policy recommendations to combat truancy, including:

  • Developing national definitions for truancy, chronic truancy, and chronic absenteeism
  • Improving data collection for truancy early warning systems
  • Increasing wrap-around services and aligning them with student needs
  • Reducing punitive policies
  • Increasing parental involvement and the accessibility and availability of education programs

Truancy has been found to have negative effects on students and the country as a whole. It particularly affects low-income students and students of color, who are more likely to be absent. Lawmakers and education activists are troubled by this trend because people of color are projected to be the majority of the U.S. population by the early 2040s. Already, more than half of all babies born today are children of color, and, for the first time in history, the majority of the 2014–2015 public school K-12 population is projected to be students of color. Underscoring the importance of investing in a solution to the causes of truancy is the fact that today’s shift in the school-age population is a preview of our nation’s future leaders and labor-force demographics.

Read the full report here.

Listen to a recording of the press call featuring California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and CAP Director of Education Policy Tiffany D. Miller discussing the report here.

For more information or to speak to an expert, please contact Tanya S. Arditi at tarditi@americanprogress.org or 202-741-6258.

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