Coming Sunday: A hard look at truancy and absenteeism in Coachella Valley schools

December 13th, 2013 | by Brett Kelman | Comments

What is the true cost of an empty desk?

Every time a child misses school, he falls behind the rest of the class. But how long does it take him to catch up? Is his future threatened? Does the impact of his absence ripple through his grades, his classmates and his entire school?

tdsdc5-6d0wcbx8w791kmuhs4ti_originalOn Sunday, the Desert Sun will publish an iSun report exploring truancy and absenteeism in the Coachella Valley. The report, the product of three months of research and analysis, examines the impact that frequent absences have on student performance, school funding and local crime.

The iSun report expands on the work of Attorney General Kamala Harris, who examined California’s absenteeism “crisis” in a 158-page study in September.

“The findings are stark,” Harris wrote in her study.  “We are failing our children.”

The AG’s study examined absences in hundreds of schools in more than 30 different districts, but her findings did not include any schools from the Coachella Valley. As a result, The Desert Sun launched its own investigation into absenteeism. Our findings were no less concerning.

For the full findings, pick up a copy of The Desert Sun, or visit, on Sunday.

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