“To attack the causes of absence from all sides, we must fully understand it.”
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The problem of chronic absences weighs heavily on a school’s ability to educate students, a problem Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Collins continues to address this year with a plan that passed the Senate.
The measure, approved by the Senate in a 50-1 vote today, extends studies of chronic absence to include early childhood programs. Schools must collect and review absence data, using it as the basis for recommendations on what can be done to reduce absences and truancy.
“To attack the causes of absence from all sides, we must fully understand it, and that means starting with our youngest students,” Collins said. “We know that a pattern of absence or truancy can develop from an early age. Collecting this data and hearing these stories from our schools will help us to understand why, and to develop strategies to keep our kids in class.”
Data from the University of Chicago, the Consortium on Chicago School Research and reports by California-based Attendance Works highlight the critical importance of consistent preschool attendance. Students who attend preschool regularly are significantly more likely than chronically absent preschoolers to be ready for kindergarten and to attend school regularly in later grades.
Senate Bill 3536 heads to the Illinois House for consideration.