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Legislative analyst suggest more investments are needed to make 2019 absenteeism law more successful


The Attendance for Success Act signed in 2019 required schools to track and report to the state as well as work on implementing supportive interventions. This week, the Legislative Education Study Committee reported that while the law is strong on paper, there are concerns about schools' capacity to implement those interventions

Chronic absenteeism is not just a problem in New Mexico. No school district across the country has returned to pre-pandemic numbers. However,the state is sitting at 39% of students absent during the 2022-2023 school yearmaking it the highest rate nationally.

Senior Policy Analyst at the Legislative Education Study Committee Jessica Hathaway said the Attendance for Success Act was passed to change those numbers. It allows schools to track data and implement atiered intervention strategy that ranges from looking at the wellbeing of a whole school to creating individual attendance plans.

"There’s consistency in what schools and district’s are doing to support attendance statewide. However, what may be missing is meaningful, localized, and community-driven approaches, which the research really shows works if family engagement is at the heart of effective attendance strategy" said Hathaway.

Hathaway suggested that lawmakers in the upcoming Legislative session in January could look at greater investments in building school capacity, creating new positions dedicated to attendance, and clarifying expectations for existing attendance teams.

This coverage is made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners.

Taylor is a reporter with our Poverty and Public Health project. She is a lover of books and a proud dog mom. She's been published in Albuquerque The Magazine several times and enjoys writing about politics and travel.
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  • New Mexico schools have been hit hard by chronic absenteeism with about 39% of our students missing 10% or more of school days. On the next Let’s Talk New Mexico, we’ll discuss resources available to address chronic absenteeism and the gaps still needing to be filled.