Ending absenteeism to change the future for struggling communities

In researching a book on distressed communities, nothing has become clearer than the role of education in lifting the health, and economic prospects, of a community. Yet as this article describes, poor kids face the greatest obstacles in succeeding in school. In one community I’m reporting in, a rural county in Northern California, 1 out of 6 students in the school district are chronically absent. There are many reasons, but among them are transportation challenges, lack of supervision and health issues.

How to Get Kids to Class

To Keep Poor Students in School, Provide Social Services

“According to the education researchers Robert Balfanz and Vaughan Byrnes at Johns Hopkins, children living in poverty are by far the most likely to be chronically absent from school (which is generally defined as missing at least 10 percent of class days each year)….”


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