School absences plague districts across state

Source: MGN

Although school is back in session, a new report shows some students are missing quite a bit of class.

A report by the Early Childhood Foundation found that as many as 26% of students are chronically absent.

That means a student misses school at least two days a month, adding up to about 10% of the school year.

While this directly affects the student- with research proving that chronically absent students have lower test scores, graduation rates and decreased chances of breaking the poverty cycle- it also impacts the entire student body.

Researchers say one student missing a day of school puts the entire class behind because teachers have to play catch-up.

The study goes on to say that some of the most important years for students are the early ones, but almost half of elementary schools in our state had up to 19% of students repeatedly miss class during the 2013-14 school year.

While there is a state attendance law that requires schools to keep track of the number of absences, there aren't any legal requirements for schools with high absence rates to do anything about it, according to the report.

Researchers hope that shedding light on this issue will encourage schools to work on engaging students and families to increase attendance.

But parents and school staff aren't the only ones responsible for improving school absent rates.

Researchers say it takes community-wide action, including help from doctors and community service providers, as most absences stem from health or family problems.

Right now, almost half of the schools in our state deal with more than 10% of students constantly being absent, according to the report, but the overall goal is get that number below 5%.