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Start of Attendance Awareness Month
Attendance is essential to school success, but too often students, parents and schools do not realize how quickly absences — excused and unexcused — can add up to academic trouble. Chronic absence — missing 10 percent of the school year, or just 2-3 days every month—can translate into third-graders unable to master reading, sixth-graders failing courses and ninth-graders dropping out of high school. Low-income students, who most depend on school for opportunities to learn, are especially harmed when they miss too much instruction.
Chronic absence is an alarming, largely overlooked problem that is preventing too many children from having an opportunity to learn and succeed. National datacollected for the 2013-14 school year found 6.8 million students, or 14 percent of all students, were chronically absent. This is not just a problem in middle and high school: It starts in kindergarten and preschool. It is a problem in districts of every size, urban, suburban and rural. The report, Preventing Missed Opportunity, shows that nine out of 10 U.S. school districts experience some level of chronic absenteeism, but half of the nation’s chronically absent students are concentrated in just 4 percent of its districts. Low-income children, English language learners, and children with disabilities miss the most school. In every state, missing too much school correlates with weaker standardized test scores.Read this research summary for more details.