Attendance matters. In fact, research shows that students who miss just two or three days of school a month—defined as chronic absenteeism—are significantly more likely to drop out of school altogether.
This Attendance Awareness Month, here’s what America’s Promise national partner Attendance Works wants you to know about chronic absenteeism and how to fight it.
The Scope of the Problem
About 14 percent of all students were chronically absent in the 2013-2014 school year, according to Attendance Works. That’s 6.8 million students, with nine out of 10 U.S. schools experiencing some level of chronic absenteeism.
A recent #PromiseChat on Twitter raised awareness about the impact of chronic absence and discussed potential solutions:
“This is not just a problem in middle and high school,” Attendance Works says.
“It starts in kindergarten and preschool. It is a problem in districts of every size, urban, suburban and rural.”
Who is Most Affected
While chronic absenteeism is a pervasive issue, Attendance Works’ 2016 report Preventing Missed Opportunity shows that half of the country’s chronically absent students are concentrated in just 4 percent of school districts.
Furthermore, low-income children, English language learners, and children with disabilities are more at risk of missing school than other students.
What Fights Chronic Absenteeism
Attendance Works has already highlighted campaigns and initiatives that have effectively reduced chronic absenteeism, like a campaign offering a free flu vaccine in Texas and schools in Rhode Island partnering with housing groups to combat asthma and lead poisoning—a common reason students in the state miss school.
In their final Attendance Awareness campaign webinar on Sept. 12, Portraits of Change: Aligning School and Community Resources to Reduce Chronic Absence, presenters will share inspiring examples of how their communities reduced chronic absence. Register here.
For more information about how you can get involved with Attendance Awareness Month, check out Attendance Works’ Count Us In! Toolkit 2017.