Numerous studies have demonstrated that there is a direct correlation between chronic truancy, poverty, and criminal behavior. The root cause of a student’s truancy varies depending on the student’s individual circumstances and neither teachers nor administrators have adequate resources to address each student’s situation.
Truancy in Metro Nashville Public Schools (“MNPS”) is a serious problem that requires immediate attention. In the 2015 fall semester, approximately fifteen (15) percent of MNPS students (12,429 students) struggled with truancy as evidenced by five or more unexcused absences. That same semester, over 2,600 students had ten or more unexcused absences. There are currently over 14,700 chronically truant MNPS students who have had ten or more unexcused absences over multiple years. Given the magnitude of this issue and the corresponding adverse consequences both for the truant student and our community as a whole, community intervention is not only necessary, but it is the most efficient and effective means of addressing truancy and its consequences.
Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), Metro Student Attendance Center (MSAC), and Advocates for Women's And Kids' Equality are developing a community-based truancy intervention program that will provide community resources and support to students and/or their families who are in the early or mid-stages of truancy proceedings. The working title for this collaboration is "Connecting Attendance to Results in Education" (CARE). We are modeling this pilot program after other similar, effective programs that have already been successfully implemented in other cities across the United States in addition to tailoring our approach to Metro's existing structures and procedures for truancy.