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To Reduce Chronic Absence, This Expert Says Treat It Like A Public Health Problem

Laura Tsutsui
Valley Public Radio
Hedy Chang is the founder and director of Attendance Works. She was the keynote speaker Thursday at a conference aimed at reducing chronic absenteeism in Fresno County schools.

Chronic absence plagues most school districts in the San Joaquin Valley. We know that students who can’t make it to school miss out on learning, and research shows that missing even three days a month over time can put students a year or more behind their peers. Thursday, the Fresno County Office of Education hosted a conference looking at ways to reduce chronic absenteeism. 

The keynote speaker, Hedy Chang, is the founder and director of the San Francisco-based initiative Attendance Works, which aims to reduce school absences to promote student success and also create educational equity. 

Listen to the interview above to hear Chang explain the common barriers to attending school, and the creative solutions some districts have implemented.

Laura Tsutsui was a reporter and producer for Valley Public Radio. She joined the station in 2017 as a news intern, and later worked as a production assistant and weekend host. Laura covered local issues ranging from politics to housing, and produced the weekly news program Valley Edition. She left the station in November 2020.
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