Senator Kristin Corrado’s legislation to track and combat chronic absenteeism in New Jersey’s public schools was signed into law.
Sen. Kristin Corrado’s legislation to track and combat chronic absenteeism in New Jersey’s public schools was signed into law. (Flickr)
“Chronic absenteeism is a growing crisis in over 215 school districts in New Jersey,” Corrado (R-40) said. “The consequences are clear – kids who don’t regularly attend school are prone to fall behind their peers, leading to dropping out of high school. Tracking and combating the downward spiral of prolonged absenteeism will ensure kids are in school, providing them with the best tools for a successful future and life.”
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, now law, S-1876, tracks and combats 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 law requires schools to address the causes of chronic absenteeism.
This law requires 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 for 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 am pleased the governor signed this bipartisan legislation into law.”
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