A letter from Newark Unified School District Superintendent Dave Marken:
It will surprise many parents that, in fact, their student(s) are considered chronic absent, truant, or both.
Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing more than 10 percent of instructional time for any reason, excused or unexcused.
Brenda Payton, in her article in the San Francisco Chronicle on April 22, 2012, revealed that some of the highest rates of absenteeism occur in kindergarten and first grade.
Teresa Drenick, Alameda County deputy district attorney and the architect of the Alameda County Truancy Referral Program, states, “There is a direct line between chronic absenteeism in elementary school, falling behind, not being able to keep up in junior high, and drop-out rates in high school”.
Drenick goes on to say, “ When you read the probation reports of juveniles and adults convicted of criminal activity, the common denominator is the lack of education”.
The most telling and shocking statistic is how the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation determines how many beds it will need in the future.
According to Superior Court Judge Gloria Rhynes, it is third grade truancy rates! Yes, the prison system analyzes school attendance rates of third graders to decide how many will end up in prison!
Consistent attendance is critical to student learning. So, as we begin the 2012-2013 school year, I’ll see you at school, in class. Every day, on time!
Dave Marken, Ed.D.
Editor's note: The letter above was first published on the Newark Unified School District website. Visit http://www.nusd.ca.schoolloop.com/ for more information about Newark Unified.