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California Department of Education News Release
Release: #11-36
May 6, 2011
Contact: Tina Jung
E-mail: communications@cde.ca.gov
Phone: 916-319-0818

Education Roundup for the Week Ending May 6, 2011

SACRAMENTO—The California Department of Education (CDE) today issued this week's Education Roundup featuring education-related announcements of public interest.

Policy Forum on Chronic Absence: Taking Attendance Seriously

Educators, administrators, lawmakers, parents, and community members are invited to attend a free forum cosponsored by the CDE on May 19 in Sacramento called "Taking Attendance Seriously: Promoting School Success by Preventing Chronic Absence."

Dr. Robert Balfanz of Johns Hopkins University and Hedy Chang of Attendance Works are two national experts on chronic absences speaking at the forum. The half-day event starts at 8:30 a.m. at 1500 Capitol Avenue in Sacramento. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson will present welcoming remarks.

The forum is designed to support policies that address chronic absences in the early grades as a means of reducing the number of dropouts in California schools. Chronic absence means a student misses 10 percent or more of the school year for any reason. Research shows that chronic absence, even in grade school, are early indicators that a student may never graduate from high school years later, particularly among poor and minority students.

Dropping out of school can have long-term consequences for students as they turn into adults, including lower lifetime earnings, living in poverty, being under-employed or unemployed. Studies also show high school dropouts have an increased chance of incarceration, are exposed to more crime and drugs, and are more likely to rely on government assistance.

To attend the event, contact Juanita Baca of Children Now at jbaca@childrennow.org or call 916-443-1410. For information on the forum, please visit California Forum: Taking Attendance Seriously Attendance Works [http://www.attendanceworks.org/california-forum-taking-attendance-seriously/] External link opens in new window or tab..

Read to Ride

Students are urged to keep their minds engaged in learning by reading during the summer break through the California State Fair's Read to Ride program. Students in kindergarten through grade eight can read two books approved by their parent, guardian, or teacher. The students then fill out a form and turn it in to State Fair officials to get a free ride.

Reading is an important way for students to stay engaged in learning during the summer school recess. Research shows the learning gap widens between middle- and low-income students as a result of summer learning losses and that the effect is cumulative over the elementary school grades. Students from low-income families do not have the means to make up for the resources the school provides during the year. So these students, many of whom are already struggling in school, begin each academic year falling even further behind their peers.

CDE has two literature databases to help parents find the appropriate reading materials for their children. The Recommended Literacy Search lists thousands of publications in its searchable database at Search List, Recommended Literature for Reading and Language Arts, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve. Also, the Recommended Literature Search helps parents tailor a list of appropriate reading materials based on their child's reading level as assessed on the state's standardized tests at California Reading List (CRL) - Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR).

For more information about the California State Fair’s Read to Ride program and to download the report form, please visit Read to Ride [Note: The preceding link is no longer active.].

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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5206, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

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