Sunday, March 1, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Report says truancy may cost state billions

By
From page A4 | October 01, 2013 |

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California must act to reduce rampant truancy that saw an estimated 1 million elementary students absent in the last school year and may cost the state billions of dollars through increased crime and poverty, according to a study released Monday by the state attorney general’s office.

“The empty desks in our public elementary school classrooms come at a great cost to California,” the report said.

The report, scheduled for release at an anti-truancy symposium in Los Angeles, said children have unexcused absences from school for a number of reasons, including family issues, neighborhood safety concerns and bullying. It called for a sweeping battle against absenteeism that brings together parents, educators, lawmakers, law enforcement and community groups.

“The findings are stark. We are failing our children,” the report’s executive summary concluded.

The report was based on information from around 550 elementary schools, as well as surveys and interviews with school district and county education officials, district attorneys involved with anti-truancy work, nonprofit groups, parents and state prison inmates.

It cited California Department of Education figures that found nearly 30 percent of all public school students were truant during the 2011-2012 school year — including about one in five elementary schoolers.

Nearly 2,000 elementary schools — about 30 percent — reported truancy rates of between 20 and 40 percent and nearly 10 percent had even higher rates, the report said.

“Some schools report that more than 92 percent of students were truant” that year, the report said.

The report also estimated that about 1 million elementary school children were truant in the 2012-13 year, based on a sampling of school districts, and that nearly 83,000 missed 10 percent or more of the school year due to unexcused absences.

“To put this into perspective: we are discussing a 6-year-old in the first grade who has stacked up as many as 20, 30, even 80 absences in a 180-day school year,” the report said.

More than 250,000 students missed more than 18 school days in the year, the report estimated.

School districts, who receive government funding based on student attendance, lose $1.4 billion per year to truancy, the report estimated.

Statistics compiled by the California Department of Education for Yolo County in 2011-12 (the most recent year available) show that Davis schools had 1,376 truant students, out of a cumulative enrollment of 8,971, for a truancy rate of 15.3 percent. This compares to 28.5 percent for California as a whole.

Woodland saws saw a truancy rate of 28.4 percent and the Washington Unified district in West Sacramento had a 19.2 percent rate. In Winters, the rate soared to 51.5 percent, representing 877 truant students out of an enrollment of 1,703.

Studies indicate that chronically truant students are more likely to drop out of high school and to end up jobless or turn to crime, the report said.

“Factoring in the costs of incarceration and lost economic productivity and tax revenues, dropouts cost California an estimated $46.4 billion per year,” the report said.

“To be smart on crime, combating truancy must be a core goal of state public safety policy,” the report concluded.

That means dealing with issues that lead to absenteeism in early grades, including health problems such as asthma and diabetes as well as family struggles that range “from the relatively mundane to the truly harrowing,” the report said.

“In our interviews with district officials, poverty, homelessness, incarceration, evictions and job loss were repeated over and over as obstacles to school attendance,” the report said.

The report cited a 30-year-old mother of three who was trying to hold down a job while the children’s father was behind bars.

“The mother understood that school was important but reported that she was unable to make the kids go to sleep at night and every morning she had to fight with her three kids to get to school. Some days she just gave up,” according to the report.

Another woman, asked what would help get her child to school, replied: “a permanent place to live.stability, safety and less stress regarding where we are spending the night tonight,” the report said.

“Families who live in unsafe neighborhoods are reluctant to allow their children to walk to school,” the report said.

A school district official in one city mentioned a girl who missed school because she had seen a killing and “was afraid to go outside,” the report said.

The study laid out a blueprint for battling absenteeism by collecting better statewide attendance information; providing early intervention such as sending letters to parents or making home visits; dealing with issues that lead to truancy and, as a last resort, prosecuting repeat offenders under the state’s anti-truancy laws.

It also said lawmakers should consider making school truancy and absence rates a factor in judging a school’s performance.

Comments

comments

Wire and staff reports

.

News

Sheriff: Mother ‘sole person responsible’ for infant’s death

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Rifle Team has a blast with competitive shooting

By Savannah Holmes | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Child abduction case in jury’s hands

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

 
Pipeline project will soften water in 2016

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

Pig out at Farmers Market’s Pig Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

 
Christie to Republicans: No rush to pick 2016 nominee

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Bob Dunning: Colon prep can be hard to swallow

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

 
Scouts help fill STEAC’s pantry

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Weekend storm drops snow, rain, hail in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Still no parole in toddler case

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

City offers wetlands tour

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Parole denied in 1987 killing spree

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Explore Asia at Arboretum storytime

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
MU Games closing in late March

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Assault awareness campaign kicks off

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

 
UCD student with meningococcal disease is recovering

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Young patients bond with special stuffies

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Diversity theater group continues creativity workshops

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Radio talk show moves to Mondays

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
UCD student panel to cover anti-Semitism, Islamophobia

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Yolo Food Bank hosts thank-you breakfast on Pig Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
.

Forum

Milt Priggee cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

 
Rowing: PE as well as life skills

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

Police complaint procedures drafted

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
Clarifying energy update letter

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

Weekly claw pickup necessary

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
Mars or ISIS? Similar outcome

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

City may get charged up over energy choices

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

 
Speak out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B5

 
Design innovation centers for the 21st century

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

A new perspective on life

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A7

 
Distant water crisis has lessons for Davis

By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

Call for study to settle if anesthesia poses risk to babies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
.

Sports

 
Aggie men get a bounce-back win at Cal Poly

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

The mystery continues: lowly Gauchos upset UCD women

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Devils get a soccer win despite finishing woes

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Winning close games is the key for DHS softballers

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Razo throws well as Aggies get a baseball win

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Defending champion Blue Devils have diamond holes to fill

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Republic FC falls to storied New York Cosmos

By Evan Ream | From Page: B10

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Yolo Federal Credit Union honored for supporting business education

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

 
Online store will celebrate, mock People’s Republic of Davis

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A10 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, March 1, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8