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Truancy: Research, Policy & Practices JUDGE JOAN BYER September 2010
Truancy Statistics • Currently no national definition • NCLB requires state definition of truancy • NCLB requires states collect truancy rates (not only attendance rates)
Troubling Statistics • 70% of suspended youth are chronically truant in the previous 6 months. • 97% of expelled youth are chronically truant in the previous year. • 80% of dropouts were chronically truant in the past year. • 90% of youth in detention for delinquent acts were truant.
Troubling Statistics • 25% of all expelled youth will be in youth corrections within 1 year. • Truants are 2 to 8 times as likely to become adjudicated delinquents. • Truants aged 12 -15 are 10 to 15 times as likely to start marijuana use compared to non-truant or suspended youth or low academic performing youth.
Truancy and Delinquency Youth Ages 12 -15 Onset of Serious Property Crimes * Class Skipper 4. 69 times as likely Minor Truant (1 -3 Days) 5. 17 “ “ “ Moderate Truant (4 -9 Days) 11. 46 “ “ “ Chronic Truant (> 9 Days) 21. 53 “ “ “ * Dr. Kimberly Henry, American Society of Criminology, Nov 2005
Effect of Truancy on Later Delinquency in Youth Ages 12 -15 Onset of Serious Assault Crimes Class Skipper Minor Truant (1 -3 days) 4. 12 times as likely 4. 03 Moderate Truant (4 -9 days) 6. 84 Chronic Truant (> 9 days) 12. 15
Truancy and Drug Use Onset of Marijuana Use By Age 14 • Class Skipper 4. 11 times as likely • Minor Truant (1 -3 days) 7. 17 • Moderate Truant (4 -9 days) 12. 37 • Chronic Truant (> 9 days) 16. 08
Solutions for Truant Youth Strengthening Networks –Building Capacity - Supporting Youth -Creating Cycles of Success Youth and Parent Accountability Engage Law Enforcement Courts Schools Juvenile Services Social Services Develop Public Policy & Funding Strategies Youth Success Increased Family Involvement Convene Stakeholders to Design A Community Response Provide Evaluation and Training and Technical Assistance to Programs Engaged in Supporting Attendance, Attachment, and Achievement Coordinate & Integrate programs
Data Background The following data are based on 595 students entered into an online database (TRAIN) from all 7 demonstration sites. Except where noted, these data represent all intake data since the project’s inception in 2000.
School Discipline Problems Note: 284 students had information filled out for this category.
Juvenile Justice Involvement
Improvements Of 520 update records, the greatest number of improvements were made in: Academic Achievement (135) Emotional Stability (116) Improving Peer Relationships (113) Family Relationship(111) / Family Stressor (108)
Attendance Since the project’s inception, the average excused absence rate dropped from 4. 37 at intake to 3. 55 at the first update for the population as a whole. The average unexcused absence rate dropped from 14. 64 at intake to 7. 40 at the first update.
Incidents of Crime by Youth (10 -17) School Year 04 -05 Source: National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS).
Families said…. . Kids would stay in school if… • Schools weren’t so big • Schools communicated with parents so they knew what was happening • Student had an opportunity to make up work with some help • Alternatives were available
Students Tell Us Kids skip school because: • Classes are boring, topics aren’t relevant • They have no idea what is going on in class and no way to catch up • They feel disrespected by teachers or staff • No one seems to care if they attend or not • Negative peer influences • The environment is uncomfortable • They don’t know there are choices • They would rather be home sleeping
Students Tell Us Kids would stay in school if… • More alternatives were available • Classes were more hands-on • Could get support and help from teachers • Schedules were flexible, later start time • Teachers were engaged in school • There was one person who cared about them
Levers for Change – Federal No child Left Behind Law – Attendance = School Funding – High Stakes Achievement Testing – Truancy Reduction Day time crime – Truancy Reduction Court Costs
State/County/Municipal Policies • • • File CHINS/PINS File D&N Withhold TANF Daytime curfew Subpoena school records • School revenue based on average daily enrollment • Include school truancy rates in report card • Claim revenues for students with truancy petition
Court Sanctioning Policies • • • Fine parents & students Arrest parents Contempt citations Suspend driver’s license Detention Community service • Court ordered family or individual therapy • Court ordered tutoring or health services • Waive fines with improved attendance
School Policies • • School F grading No Extra Curric. Act. Suspension/expulsions Employ truancy officers • Grading on participation • Change Ed. Placement • Appeals processes • Consistent attendance policy and practice known by all (students, parents, staff, community agencies)
Other Policy Change Needs • End out of school suspensions for being truant • Finance Schools by average daily attendance not one day counts • Document attendance and truancy by school & set goals • Less use by courts of detention for truancy • Remove attendance as a factor in grading • Start secondary schools later in the day • Provide partial credit options for students • Conduct a “push out “policy audit of rules and practices • Raise compulsory attendance age to 18
1. I am from many of houses, moving from place to place Where I have gained friends and lost friends From people who would say hello to people who would just walk by and not care about anything nor anyone I am from many of schools From Shelby Elementary to J. B. Elementary. From Meyzeek Middle to Western Middle. I have seen many of fights From little scathes to what seemed like blood baths I am from good grades to bad From As and Bs down to Cs and Ds
But never down to Us. From where people would give me money for my good grades and take money for the bad I am from all kinds of teachers From nice to evil. From some that cared and some that would tell me to just go sit Down and figure it out myself. From some that seemed like mothers and fathers. To some that seemed like the devil getting revenge I am from many of injuries From little cuts to dog bites that wouldn’t stop bleeding
From my dad falling off ladders breaking arms, legs, and elbows. From little “ows” to screaming bloody murder. I am from overcoming adversity From where instead of staying home through hectic times I went to school From helping my parents get through things as well as myself. Also from letting things go and being strong about it. And that is where I am from.
2. Life I am from Louisville Formerly living in Newburg But now at St. Vincent Depaul My momma, my nephew, and me I am from the 13 th year of my life When I have to be more responsible for myself Is when I have a lot of privilege for myself And that is when I have to think about my own things. I am from a smart mouth Which often gets me in trouble
I got it by listening to my older brother, sister It is hard trying to change this habit I am from my momma Who is making a lot of changes in her life She’s almost finished her GED And is a recovering addict which makes me proud She works at Mc. Donalds and loves to drive
3. Where I am From I am from Louisville, I moved from the projects into a house. I was born in University of Louisville Hospital and my grandparents lived right down the street and I don’t know where my father is, probably somewhere he don’t need to be. I had everything when I was a baby. The only thing I didn’t have was a father. What I used to do was make a mess but now I know better. What I used to wear when I was a baby was osh kosh b gosh and Tommy and Polo.
It was hard coming up as a child. I was out running wild and everybody didn’t come to find me and put me in the house where I needed to be. The only person I think that really cared was my older sister and my mother because my sister was out running wild, and now she got one child and she always got to stay in the house with her child and the father is not there. I don’t like how my family is now. We falling apart and now we need to start over again because our family is not going to go anywhere if we keep on going this way. I guess it’s where we are from.