One in seven Oakland public school students missed nearly four weeks of school last year, costing the district $3.5 million in state funding.
California schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson says Oakland's absentee rate dramatizes a statewide problem that researchers say could lead to a doomed future for a generation of young people.
Speaking at a state policy forum on Thursday, Torlakson says schools are being held accountable for low test scores. But he says even the best teachers can't help students who don't show up for class.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports there isn't a clear picture of absenteeism in California because school officials are not required to keep tabs on chronic absences, only on overall attendance rates.