Connecticut measure takes aim at chronic absenteeism

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lawmakers are considering a bill that aims to ensure that children who are chronically absent from school get help early — before they become truants or get poor grades or drop out.

"If you look at eighth-graders, the students who are chronically absent are more likely to drop out of high school than those with the lowest [grade point averages]," said Rep. Andy Fleischmann, co-chairman of the education committee. "Chronic absence is a stronger predictor."

The bill, which advanced out of the education committee last week, calls for districts where 10 percent of students or more are chronically absent to establish a school attendance review team to address the problem. Any district with a school that has a chronic absence rate of 15 percent or more would also have to do the same.

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