Experiments in Early Truancy Prevention
Thursday, November 12, 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Japengo (Hyatt Regency Miami)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Panel Organizers: Philip Cook, Duke University
Panel Chairs: Jens Ludwig, University of Chicago
Discussants: Philip Oreopoulos, University of Toronto
The traditional focus of truancy prevention has been in middle and high school, where truants are seen as a threat to the community. An alternative focus on truancy is gaining traction, which considers truancy an impediment to learning and a precursor to dropout, as well as disruption to the instructional flow. In that perspective truancy becomes an academic problem, one that begins in primary school. This symposium begins with a paper that uses two large longitudinal data sets to document the importance of early truancy as a predictor of subsequent truancy and of eventual dropout. It includes two reports of a large-scale experiment with assigning adult mentors to at-risk children in the Chicago Public Schools, grades 1-8 (the Check and Connect program), which finds promising results for the older grades and offers extensive qualitative documentation of processes that engender truancy. Finally, there is a paper on the new Early Truancy Prevention Program, which assigns primary school teachers the lead role in improving attendance and provides them with a variety of resources to assist in that role. The Program has been pilot tested in first and second grades of the Durham Public Schools with positive results.