States Pull Out Stops to Curb Truancy

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School attendance data have long been linked to school funding – with better attendance equating to more money from the state. But last year, the federal No Child Left Behind law began requiring schools to report their absentee rates directly to their state education departments. With heightened concerns over truancy rates, school officials and local governments are using both rewards (cars and audio equipment) and punishments (fines and arrests) to get students off the streets and into their seats. In one innovative South Carolina town, stickers in the windows of local businesses promise not to serve school-aged children during school hours. Jan. 31,