Monday, March 9, 2020

Law Could Change School Attendance Rules

The Oklahoma Senate has passed legislation that would allow absent students who complete assigned instructional activities or engage in online curriculum or programs provided by the school district to be counted as “in attendance.”

Sen. Mark Allen, R-Spiro, authored Senate Bill 1210 because of a changing educational climate where engagement can no longer be defined as sitting in a seat, he said. 

“According to current statutes, students are counted as chronically absent if they miss 10 percent or more of school days,” Allen said. “However, attendance policies for class credit typically have an 80 percent attendance requirement. This discrepancy results in our schools being penalized on their A-F report cards with a low chronic absenteeism score even though students are actively participating to receive class credit.”

Allen said schools should not be punished since they cannot control if a student shows up for class or not, but if a student is actively working from home, completing class assignments on time or engaging in online curriculum, they should be marked as in attendance. 

“We must look outside the box for solutions to our chronic absenteeism problem,” Allen said. “I’m glad my colleagues agree that we cannot punish our public schools for something they cannot control, especially when these students are actively engaging in school curriculum.”

The measure now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration. Rep. Lundy Kiger, R-Poteau, is the principal House author. 

For more information, contact Sen. Mark Allen at (405) 521-5576, or email

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