Jeremy B. White | Sacramento Bee
Emphasizing that young students who frequently miss school are far more likely to fall behind and commit crimes later in life, California Attorney General Kamala Harris and half a dozen lawmakers introduced an anti-truancy bill package on Monday.
The legislative effort ties to a report from Harris’ office that depicts the repercussions of an estimated 1 million truant elementary school students a year, good for a 29.6 percent truancy rate among California youngsters. More than 250,000 elementary school students missed at least 10 percent of the year, or more than 18 days of learning.
Missing a substantial amount of school carries cascading consequences, Harris said. Children who are already behind reading level by third grade are four times as likely to drop out of high school. In turn, high school dropouts suffer higher unemployment rates and become more likely to turn to crime.
“There’s a direct connection between education and public safety,” Harris said…
Legislators promoted five bills focused on data collection and reporting, from requiring the state Department of Education to track truancy rates to having district attorneys explain the outcomes of school attendance-related prosecution…
“Stemming the tide of truancy is a critical component to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline…” (Full text at Sacramento Bee)