California Attorney General, Lawmakers Offer Legislation On Truancy

The Los Angeles Times (3/11, McGreevy) reports that California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and lawmakers yesterday held a news conference to announce “a package of bills aimed at improving the tracking of absenteeism and the evaluation and use of measures to keep kids in school.” Harris said that last year, “30% of elementary school students were truant,” adding that truancy leads to children who “fall behind and too many never catch up.” She argued that falling behind leads to dropping out, which leads to prison, saying, “There is a direct match between public education and public safety.” Five bills are in the package, with one requiring an annual report from the attorney general on truancy and effective counter truancy programs, and another requiring the state Department of Education to collect data on truancy. A third requires county School Attendance Review Boards, the fourth requires annual reports from the boards, and the fifth requires annual reports from county prosecutors an programs to reduce truancy.

        Reuters (3/10, Bernstein) also reports on the news conference and the proposed legislation.