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What States Are Doing
Selected Research & Readings
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Compulsory School Ages: 1980 - 2006 PDF - This scanned document from the ECS archives contains historical data on compulsory school-age policies in the states from 1980, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2006. The documents are scanned from the ECS archives, so clarity of images may be reduced. (Education Commission of the States)...

School Attendance Age Limits MS Word PDF - States have a variety of requirements for the attendance age of their students. “Free education,” also referred to as “statutory age,” refers to the ages in which a person must be admitted to a public school by law without charge. “Compulsory age” refers to the range of ages during which a resident of a state must attend school on a regular basis. While ten states have either not set a maximum age limit to which free education must be provided or have left that determination up to the local education agency, all states (including Washington, DC) have implemented minimum age limits and compulsory attendance ages into law. (Anthony De Souza and Michael Colasanti, Education Commission of the States, June 2007)...

Habitual Truancy: Examples of State Definitions MS Word PDF - For the most part, compulsory attendance laws do not specify the number of times a student must be truant before sanctions (also part of the compulsory attendance laws) are enforced. This ECS StateNote provides examples of states where truancy and habitual truancy are defined at the state level. (Kyle Zinth, Education Commission of the States, April 2005) ...

Teaching to Empty Desks: The Effects of Truancy in Tennessee Schools - This report examines Tennessee’s compulsory school attendance laws and rules, and identifies the extent to which truancy is a problem in the state’s schools. The report makes recommendations for policy changes that may reduce student absence in schools, including reducing the age a student can participate in adult high school programs and limiting the number of absences allowed before the student is referred to the judicial system. (Tennessee Office of Education Accountability, January 2004)...

Keeping Kids in School: The Impact of the Truancy Provisions in Washington’s 1995 “Becca Bill” - This report presents an analysis of the effectiveness of the Becca Bill, finding that implementation has resulted in a statistically significant increase in high school enrollment rates. The bill allows schools or parents to file a truancy petition with a county juvenile court if a student has five or more unexcused absences in a month; districts must file petitions if a student has seven unexcused absences in a month or 10 in one school year. Juvenile court judges have a number of options, including ordering the student to attend school or face possible incarceration in a juvenile detention center. An estimated 2,664 high school students are enrolled in high schools due to implementation of the bill, at a cost of $1,314 for each success. (Washington State Institute for Public Policy, October 2002)...


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