Policy Advocacy Brief
Issue Statement/Executive Summary
Attending school consistently builds a foundation for academic achievement and social success in the future. Students missing an excessive number of school days throughout childhood for any reason experience increasingly negative outcomes as they grow older. When truancy leads to dropping out of school, this costs individuals money in lost wages associated with reduced education levels. Truancy also costs society as a whole in reduced tax collection, increased crime, and increased need for public services. Research demonstrates that minority students and youth with other risk-factors are more likely to experience school disengagement leading to truancy. Punitive school policies such as out-of-school suspension and expulsion can also lead to a snowball effect of getting behind on schoolwork and missing more school. Several highly effective evidence-based truancy intervention models are outlined in this brief. Early identification and intervention becomes a crucial strategy for effectively reducing absenteeism that in turn increases graduation rates. The State of Minnesota can reduce truancy rates and improve long-tern outcomes for students by adopting an array of strategies, including in-creasing the number of school social workers and other support personnel, funding mental health services in schools, developing state-wide tracking of attendance, and state mandated early truancy intervention.
Roulette, B., Twedt, H., & Skala, P. (2017). Stop truancy before it starts: Getting every kid to school, everyday. MSW Program Policy Briefs, Minnesota State University, Mankato. https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/msw-student-policy-advocacy-briefs/6