Senior Obama Administration Officials Launch First National Conference on Eliminating Chronic Absenteeism

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Update (as of 8/10/16): Recently, the U.S. Department of Education was alerted to errors in data the state of Florida submitted on behalf of its school districts as part of the 2013-2014 Civil Rights Data Collection. As a result, the data referenced here may not fully represent all students in Florida. ED is working with Florida to address this issue as soon as possible at which point the Department will make updates accordingly.

On Thursday, June 9, in Arlington, Virginia, James Cole Jr. general counsel, delegated the duties of deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, and Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon, will give opening remarks to debut a multi-agency, two day conference on eliminating chronic absenteeism.

ED, in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Justice, is sponsoring the conference in support of President Obama’s My Brother's Keeper Initiative (MBK) initiative. The President launched MBK to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by young people, including boys and young men of color, to ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. In response to the President’s call to action, nearly 250 communities in all 50 states, 29 Tribal Nations, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico have accepted the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge.

The Every Student, Every Day National Conference: Eliminating Chronic Absenteeism by Implementing and Strengthening Cross-Sector Systems of Support for All Students aims to support states, local school districts, schools and communities in their work to develop effective chronic absenteeism policy and practice; showcase how schools can address the root causes of the problem; and strengthen the collaborative capacity of multi-agency early warning systems to link students to necessary interventions, programs, and preventative services.

At 8:10 a.m. ET, Cole will give welcoming remarks and help set the stage for the conference; at 8:25 a.m. ET, Lhamon will kick off a segment entitled “The Solvable Problem: Scalable Opportunities to Address and Eliminate the national Chronic Absenteeism Crisis,” where she will discuss chronic absenteeism and the Civil Rights Data Collection(CRDC).

The 2013-14 CRDC, which collected student absenteeism rates for the first time, revealed that 6.5 million students – 13 percent of all students – were chronically absent from schools in 2013-14.

The federal government has collected civil rights data about schools since 1968.  As with previous Civil Rights Data Collections, the purpose of the 2013-14 report is to obtain vital data related to civil rights laws requiring public schools to provide equal educational opportunity.

Visit Every Student, Every Dayto get the full conference agenda.