By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – With hardships at home, it would seem likely that poor kids would have good school attendance with a hot meal and orderly environment. However, according to an article in The New York Times, poor children are the most chronically absent.

While the federal government doesn’t track absenteeism, researchers at Johns Hopkins found that 31% of high school students in Maryland, eligible for the lunch program, were absent.

Policy makers see absenteeism as a “school” problem, while issues such as housing and mental health are “social” problems, yet they are the ones that make lives hard. According to the Attendance Works program, such kids have lower test scores, lower GPAs, and lower graduation rates.

The Communities in Schools model, at low cost, operates in 26 states and D.C. bringing a site coordinator trained in education and social work on to the administrative team in schools with predominantly poor kids.

Seventy-five percent of cases handled showed increased attendance.

An impressive model!