Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Applauds the California Endowment’s Focus on Elementary School Attendance

Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SAN FRANCISCO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued the following statement on the California Endowment’s announcement that part of its $50 million “Sons & Brothers” campaign will fund multiple programs focused on reducing truancy and chronic absence in California elementary schools:

“California’s elementary school truancy crisis is hurting our children, the economy and public safety,”  Attorney General Harris said.  “The California Endowment’s investment is the kind of leadership California needs to combat this problem and build a stronger, more secure state. Everyone has a role in getting our youngest students to class, and I thank the Endowment for tackling this important issue head on.”

Today, the California Endowment announced a commitment of $50 million over the next 7 years which will focus on chronic absence, 3rd grade reading levels, high school graduation and postsecondary certification. Among other goals, the campaign aims to improve attendance by 30% in partnering schools.

Last week, Attorney General Harris released a report, In School +On Track, which examines the state’s elementary school truancy crisis and provides solutions to fight the problem.  According to the report, students who are chronically absent before 3rd grade score 60% lower on 3rd grade reading level tests. Studies show that 1 in 6 students who are unable to read proficiently by 3rd grade will fail to graduate from high school on time which costs the state billions of dollars. The Attorney General’s report called on funders to focus their efforts on improving 3rd grade reading levels by financing new programs to improve elementary school attendance.

More information on the California Endowment’s campaign can be found here: http://www.calendow.org/sonsandbrothers.aspx

Attorney General Harris’ report can be found here: http://oag.ca.gov/truancy

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