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State Board of Education Member Testifies at Council Truancy Roundtable

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Contact: Jack Jacobson, President, (202) 741-0888

(Washington, DC)—The DC State Board of Education’s Truancy and Student Engagement Committee testified before District Council members at the Joint Education and Committee of the Whole Roundtable on Truancy. The roundtable was held to discuss the effects of the new compulsory attendance laws affecting all District of Columbia public and charter school students.

State Board Vice President Karen Williams testified on behalf of Kamili Anderson, Ward 4 Representative and Chair of the State Board’s Truancy and Student Engagement Committee.

According research conducted by the State Board of Education, many groups are facing challenges in dealing with the new laws, with many issues revolving around the implementation of the 80/20 Rule.

The 80/20 Rule has redefined what it means for a student to be considered ‘present’ by mandating that students miss no more than 20 percent of a school day for a total of 5 nonconsecutive school days or risk being marked truant. Once labeled truant, students and their families have to attend special meetings and coordinate with the Child and Family Services Agency.

DC’s 80/20 Rule is one of the strictest in the nation, and has already led to confusion and complaints by some students, parents and school officials.

The State Board intended to use the roundtable as an opportunity to inspire a reevaluation of the 80/20 Rule, its implementation methods District-wide, as well as some other aspects of the compulsory attendance laws, and advise the Council on next steps to amend the implementation concerns.

State Board members will be in attendance at the Council’s roundtable, which will be held on Monday, June 29, 2015 at 11 am in room 123 of the John A. Wilson Building located at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.