One of the most important factors that’s keeping many of Chicago’s youngest children from learning is poor attendance. On Wednesday, educators, parents and community organizers talked about how to address the problem during a special forum that’s part of our Catalyst Conversations series.

Speakers included: Stacy Ehrlich, the lead author of a recent pre-school attendance study by the Consortium on Chicago School Research; Cecelia Leong, deputy director of the nonprofit Attendance Works, which promotes better policy and practices around school attendance; and Janet Vargas, Rosazlia Griller and Adela Pedroza, who are parents and organizers from COFI / Power PAC, a local non-profit that has worked on this issue for years. Catalyst Editor in Chief Lorraine Forte moderated the discussion.

Catalyst Conversations are a benefit of membership in Catalyst. Become a member to join in on discussions like this one, and to support our journalism and analysis of Chicago school policy.

See a storified version of the tweets from this morning’s forum below.


Melissa Sanchez is a reporter for The Chicago Reporter. Email her at and follow her on Twitter at @msanchezMIA.

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