For many students, chronic absence — missing 10 percent or more than 18 days of school each year — is a reality. When chronic absences begin as young as pre-K and kindergarten, students are put on a path to fail to read on grade level by third grade, struggling with coursework in middle school, and off track for graduating high school.
Attendance Fast Facts
• In the Manatee-Sarasota region, nearly 10,000 students are chronically absent.
• In some communities, chronic absence affects 1 in 4 children.
• Nationally, as many as 7.5 million students miss 10 percent or more of the school year — that’s 135 million days!
• Students can’t learn if they aren’t there, that’s why every day counts!
Students are more likely to succeed in academics when they attend school consistently. It’s difficult for the teacher and for the class to build their skills and progress if a large number of students are frequently absent. In addition to falling behind in academics, students who are not in school on a regular basis are more likely to get into trouble with the law and cause problems in their communities.
Starting in the early grades, the percentage of students missing 10 percent of the school year can reach remarkably high levels, and these early absences can rob students of the time they need to develop literacy skills.
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading recognizes the importance of looking at chronic absences, how much school a student misses for any reason, rather than just truancy, which only tracks unexcused absences. Tracking chronic absence is a data-driven process that can inform parent, family, and student engagement programs. Chronic absence can also be an indicator, for communities, of families and neighborhoods in need of further support since poor school attendance can be an early warning sign of challenging social, economic, and health conditions.
When we work together to monitor data, encourage a habit of regular attendance, and reduce hurdles that keep children from getting to school, chronic absence will be significantly reduced.
For more information on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s efforts to reduce chronic absence nationwide, please visit GradeLevelReading.net.