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More than 7 million students fall behind academically and risk not graduating from high school because of chronic absenteeism, according to the White House.

To fix the problem, which has the greatest impact on children in low-income communities, the Obama administration launched an initiative that uses a two-pronged solution of mentorship and awareness.

A partnership between the president’s My Brother’s Keeper program and Johns Hopkins University will pair mentors with over 250,000 at-risk middle school and high school students over a two-year period.

For three years after that, the mentors will reach more than 1 million chronically absent students in grades K-12. The final phase would “leverage” the federal college work-study program to match college mentors with the youths.

Initially, the plan would focus on 10 cities: Austin, Boston, Columbus, Denver, Miami-Dade, New York City, Philadelphia, Providence, San Antonio and Seattle, which are part of the My Brother’s Keeper network. It will expand later into other communities.

The second prong of the plan seeks to educate parents about the consequences of chronic absenteeism, defined as missing at least 10 percent, or about 18 days, of the school year.

A partnership between the Department of Education, Mott Foundation, and Ad Council will launch an advertising campaign targeting parents of K-8 students. In addition to an assortment of ads on billboards and bus shelters, the plan will feature a website with downloadable tools for parents, educators, and community leaders.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty


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