Fighting Truancy in Chicago Schools: A Score Card on Strategies

Monday, November 12, 2012

Chicago school officials have tried but largely abandoned various strategies for combating truancy in grades K-8 during the past two decades, while collecting little if any data on whether the programs were effective or why some failed. A few programs remain in place but operate on a limited scale or are riddled with problems, the Tribune found.


Truancy officers: The 153 truant officers who once knocked on doors when children had three consecutive days of unexcused absences were eliminated in 1992 because of budget constraints. For a time, the Chicago Public Schools' central office used area attendance administrators, or Triple A's, to assist schools. But they were also dismissed in recent years, and authorities now say individual schools are best positioned to determine whether they have an attendance problem and to devise solutions.

Chronic truancy adjudication: Illinois law authorizes school districts to hold truancy hearings at which a hearing officer can require the student and his or her parents to improve attendance, get counseling or do community service. The little-used program was suspended in 2010.

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