It is a big problem at the national level!Nationally, an estimated 5 million to 7.5 million students are at risk academically each year because they are chronically absent—missing 10 percent or more of school days due to absence for any reason—excused and unexcused absences as well as suspensions.At the same time, we know that many students experience tremendous adversity in their lives—including poverty, health challenges, community violence, and difficult family circumstances—that make it difficult for them to take advantage of the opportunity to learn at school which results in students missing school.
Students who are chronically absent—meaning they miss at least 15 days of school in a year—are at serious risk of falling behind in school. Yet, parents do not realize the impact that chronic absenteeism can have on a child, and, for too long, this crisis in our nation's public elementary and secondary schools has not been fully understood.In fact, the US Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) for 2013-14 found 6.8 million students, or 14 percent of all students, were chronically absent. Starting as early as kindergarten and prekindergarten, chronic absence can have adverse consequences for academic achievement, research shows.
- By 3rd grade, chronically absent students, especially those who have experienced multiple years of poor attendance are less likely to read on grade level.
- By 6th grade, chronic absence becomes a warning sign that a student will drop out of high school.
- By 9th grade, it’s a better indicator than eighth-grade test scores. Children with certain risk factors— including poverty, chronic health conditions, homelessness, frequent moves and disabilities—are especially hard hit since they can least afford to miss school.
- Children of color are also disproportionately affected.