May 14, 2024

HCR 2060 and Chronic Absenteeism

Last week, Arizona lawmakers advanced HCR 2060, a strike everything amendment related to border security that would be on Arizona voters’ ballots in November of 2024. The measure would allow a significant increase in immigration enforcement activities, and unlike similar measures in other states, it would permit enforcement of the law in many places of refuge, including schools.  If enacted, this bill is likely to negatively affect our state’s education and attainment goals.

Education Forward Arizona’s work is driven by the pursuit of the State’s Achieve60AZ attainment goal, that says 60% of Arizona’s working-age residents should have some form of high-value postsecondary certificate, license or degree.

Chronic Absenteeism

Consistent school attendance is one of the single best predictors of a student’s ability to achieve higher levels of education and earn a higher quality of life for themselves and their families. Arizona has entered a crisis level of chronic absenteeism, which is defined as students missing at least 10% of the school year. Before the pandemic, 12 % to 14% of students were chronically absent in Arizona, according to research by Helios Education Foundation and WestEd. The chronic absence rate shot up to 22% in 2021. More recent data by the Arizona Department of Education shows the rate has gotten even worse. It’s fair to say that Arizona’s students and their families do not need another reason to not attend school.

It is estimated that there are 140,000 U.S. citizen children under 18 years old in Arizona who live in a household with one or more parents or other caregivers who are undocumented. Therefore HCR 2060, if enacted, will add the worst possible reason: a student and their family choosing not to attend school out of fear.

Like SB 1070 did before it, even the possibility of HCR 2060 becoming law will likely keep some of Arizona’s best and brightest young minds out of the classroom and, therefore, out of the pipeline our businesses depend on for hiring skilled, dependable, and local employees. Data shows that Arizona has to add 500,000 more people with some form of postsecondary education by 2030 to keep up with the demands of our growing economy, and our leaders should not be putting more barriers in the way of our state’s urgent need to hit that goal.

How to Get Involved

If enacted, this bill is likely to negatively affect our state’s education and attainment goals. We invite you to contact your Senators and Representatives and urge them to oppose HCR 2060. You can locate your elected officials here.