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State Asks Schools To Take Attendance More Seriously

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, March 26, 2012
The State of California finds some school districts have significantly improved their attendance and dropout rates.  This is news worth celebrating for the Department of Education.  It has increased its emphasis on tracking absenteeism.
It is recognizing 11 districts -including Twin Rivers Unified in Sacramento- for tracking and reacting to student attendance patterns.  David Kopperud chairs the School Attendance Review Board.  He says many children are already doomed to fail by the third grade…in large part because they're missing too many school days.

KOPPERUD:  "Really, what we need to do  -in the early grades in particular- is focus just on missing too much school and not worry too much about whether it's excused or unexcused.  Just the fact of missing in the early grades is a significant predictor of later school failures."

Kopperud says district employees have only recently recognized the negative effect missing school can have on children in kindergarten through second grade. 

A National Center for Children in Poverty study says nearly a quarter of kindergarteners are at-risk or are chronic absentees.

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