Biden administration addressing surge in chronic absenteeism following the pandemic.

The Biden administration’s officials unveiled funding and support to foster a “culture of attendance” in addressing widespread chronic absenteeism – where students are absent from at least 10% of school time – during an education leaders gathering at the White House on Wednesday.

A step taken by the White House was the convening of the Every Day Counts Summit to tackle the nation’s underreported educational challenge. The proportion of students with chronic absenteeism escalated amid the pandemic, hitting about 31% in the 2021-2022 academic year according to the administration’s data. An analysis by the Council of Economic Advisers revealed that this absenteeism could potentially explain 45% and 27% of the drop in test scores post-pandemic in reading and math, respectively.

“These students possess intelligence and capability, yet challenging circumstances hinder their full potential,” remarked Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona at the Summit on Wednesday. “Normalizing such setbacks among our nation’s students is not an option today, and we are at a critical juncture for academic recovery.”

Secretary Cardona pressed for submissions for the $250 million in funds offered through the Education Innovation and Research grant program to combat absenteeism and enhance student engagement. He also emphasized the administration’s planned allocation of $8 billion in grants in the Fiscal Year 2025 Budget to bridge achievement gaps and boost student attendance.

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The administration also pledged to furnish additional resources imminently to diminish absenteeism.

The Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences is set to unveil fresh tools aiding schools in utilizing data and early warning systems to identify patterns in student attendance and alert parents, as per the administration’s plans. It further noted that the Department of Education will team up with the Federal Transit Administration to present resources on enhancing bus and train transit as feasible options for students commuting to and from school.

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