The New Jersey Senate has passed legislation sponsored by Senator Kristin Corrado (R-40) to track and combat chronic absenteeism at New Jersey’s public schools.
Sen. Kristin Corrado’s bill would track and combat chronic absenteeism at NJ public schools (Flickr)
“More than 125,000 students were chronically absent during the 2015-2016 school year. That is devastating. These children are New Jersey’s future. Every day of school that they miss matters,” Senator Corrado said. “Parents, teachers, administrators, and officials must work together to address this problem. Every child should have equal access to the educational tools and resources they need to succeed.”
Chronic absenteeism refers to students who miss 10 percent or more of enrolled school days. A student who misses two days per month during the school year, totaling 18 days out of a 180-day school year, is considered chronically absent.
Some of the causes of chronic absenteeism include bullying, a lack of transportation, parents asking students to stay home to help the household, and untreated mental health issues, according to a report by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Senator Corrado’s bipartisan legislation, S-1876, would track and combat chronic absenteeism at New Jersey’s public schools by requiring data on chronic absenteeism and disciplinary suspension to be included on the School Report Card. Additionally, the bill would require schools to address the causes of chronic absenteeism.
The legislation would require a school to develop a corrective plan to improve their absentee rates if 10-percent or more of the school’s student body is chronically absent. The corrective plan must:
- Identify problems and barriers to school attendance.
- Develop recommendations to address the problems and barriers to school attendance that have been identified.
- Outline communication strategies to educate and inform parents on the importance of school attendance.
- Establish protocols on informing and engaging parents when a child begins to show a pattern of absences.
- Review school policies to ensure that they support improved school attendance.
“Missing weeks of school can have lifelong consequences,” Senator Corrado added. “We have some of the best public schools in the country. We need to figure out why so many students in New Jersey are missing out on the opportunity to get a great education. I hope to see our bipartisan solution signed into law as soon as possible.”
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