Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Chronic Absenteeism is Widespread

A new analysis from the U.S. Department of Education shows that chronic absenteeism impacts students in all parts of the country and is prevalent among all races, as well as students with disabilities. The first-ever national comprehensive data collected on chronic absenteeism reveal that more than 6 million students—or 13 percent of all students—missed at least 15 days of school in the 2013-14 school year. The data paint a striking picture of how many students miss three weeks or more of school each year.

To shine a light on these widespread challenges, the Department is debuting a new interactive website showing the extent of the crisis in terms of geography, ethnicity, disability status, and school level.

"Chronic absenteeism is a national problem," said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. "Frequent absences from school can be devastating to a child's education. Missing school leads to low academic achievement and triggers drop outs. Millions of young people are missing opportunities in postsecondary education, good careers and a chance to experience the American dream."

Many aspects of the analysis are sobering, including:
  • Geography — Chronic absenteeism is prevalent in all parts of the country. The graphs represent the areas of greatest concentration of the percentages of students missing three or more weeks of school.
  • Race & Ethnicity — More than 22 percent of American Indian students were chronically absent in 2013-14, followed by Pacific Islanders, blacks, students of two or more races, Hispanics-Latinos, whites, and Asians.
  • School Level — High school students were absent the most—almost 20 percent—followed by middle school (12 percent) and elementary school students (10 percent).
  • Disability Status — More than 17 percent of students with disabilities were chronically absent compared to 12 percent of students without disabilities.
  • Gender — Roughly 13 percent of both males and females were chronically absent.

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