Trust in Truancy

Tackling the Attendance Policy Through Collaboration


  • Vanessa Veak Undergraduate Student
  • Cher Nomura Undergraduate Student


California is 41st in the nation in per-pupil funding. Due to the basis of school funds being on student attendance rather than enrollment with the Average Daily Attendance (ADA), and due to low-income students having proportionally higher rates of absences due to uncontrollable circumstances, their schools?typically underfunded as well?receive even less funding which inherently leads to a lower quality of overall education for these students (Freedberg, 2019). Typically, immigrant families suffer from lower income levels and thus higher rates of absenteeism in school. The lower amount of funds dissuades teachers and staff in effect due to the decrease in compensation and wages, and income segregation in the local neighborhoods. Schools would also have to base their expenditure on the funding, though because it is impossible to predict how many absences will occur, expenditures are commonly on the assumption of 100% average daily attendance. However, wealthier schools may have privileges that allow for higher attendance such as stable income neighborhoods, consistent transportation, etc. Lower income schools are already at a disadvantage and will exponentially continue decreasing if funding is continuing to fall. By researching Ravenswood City School District and Palo Alto United as a case study, the attendance policy issue can be tackled through collaboration with more strategies of prevention, outreach, and transparency. In order to support an underprivileged community, privilege must be taken off and shared.

Author Biographies

Vanessa Veak, Undergraduate Student

Vanessa is a B.A. candidate in sociology with a double minor in human rights and education at Stanford University. At Stanford, she has continued her work in the education field as the co-president of Health Education Lifetime Partnerships For Kids, a tutor for East Palo Alto Stanford Academy, and experience as a teacher assistant for Self & Society: Introduction to Social Psychology, and Frosh 101. Vanessa's research interests thus primarily focus on education equity for youth in marginalized communities and the intersectionality between race and socioeconomic status through policy and outreach/targeted programs. Vanessa also strongly advocates for LGBTQ+ rights, education policy supporting Southeast Asian minorities and their achievement, and diversifying educational materials and content to decolonize the education system as we know it.

Cher Nomura, Undergraduate Student

Cher Nomura is a third-year undergraduate student and a B.S. candidate in the Earth Systems program, with a focus on land systems. Thus far into her Stanford career, Cher has conducted research and volunteer work for her local community in American Samoa, online community-based learning, service-learning with the Rosalie Rendu community in EPA, Indigenous impact assessment research for the Karuk Tribe in Northern California and is currently working with the North Fair Oaks Community Alliance as a summer fellow for the PCJ in the Bay Area Initiative. Cher’s primary academic interests aim to incorporate climate justice, land management and environmental governance in community engagement work with Indigenous and other marginalized communities. Cher also has a strong background in youth mentorship and coaching and looks to integrate education and environmental learning into community engagement work, as an approach to increase equity and representation for marginalized individuals and communities.




How to Cite

Veak, V., & Nomura, C. (2021). Trust in Truancy: Tackling the Attendance Policy Through Collaboration. The Cutting Edge: The Stanford Undergraduate Journal of Education Research, 3(2). Retrieved from