Ballooning chronic absenteeism demands state intervention

Dive Brief:

  • According to a nationwide analysis of 2021-22 federal data, released Wednesday, every state nationwide is facing a significant rise in high and extreme levels of chronic absenteeism in schools and districts. Chronic absenteeism refers to when students miss 10% or more of the school year for any reason, and the majority of school districts in the country have reported chronic absenteeism rates of at least 10% in some schools.

  • Notably, the analysis by Attendance Works and Johns Hopkins’ Everyone Graduates Center revealed that more school districts are experiencing significant to extreme levels of chronically absent students, while fewer are reporting low or moderate rates.

  • The analysis also stressed the need for state agencies and policymakers to take action in response to “the unprecedented levels and intensity of post-pandemic chronic absenteeism,” which is traditionally a responsibility of districts. The report suggests that state leaders should ensure districts are equipped to address the issue. The insights were provided by Attendance Works’ analysis.

Dive Insight:

In the 2021-22 school year, approximately 66% of enrolled students attended schools with high or extreme levels of chronic absence, according to Attendance Works. This statistic highlights the overwhelming nature of chronic absence in districts and the need for state leaders to play an active role in equipping districts to improve attendance.

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