Millions of Students Are Chronically Absent Each Year. Improve School Conditions and More Kids Will Show Up, Report Argues
This week, the American Institutes for Research and Attendance Works released a new report on the issues contributing to student chronic absenteeism (students missing more than 18 days of school a year). In it, the authors zoom in on the factors that affect student attendance, factors both inside the school building and out. The report also makes recommendations for encouraging attendance, including the development of a welcoming and safe environment for students, strong relationships between adults and students, and increased access to engaging learning opportunities.
The education news website, The 74 highlighted key takeaways from the report:
An obvious educational rule of thumb is that in order for students to learn at school, they first have to show up.
But with millions of children counted “chronically absent” each year, a new report argues that educators can improve attendance by first making their schools more welcoming places to attend.
The report, released Tuesday by the American Institutes for Research and Attendance Works, argues that schools can improve student attendance if children feel safe and included at school. A comprehensive strategy to improve students’ health and safety, sense of belonging, emotional well-being and academic engagement are all key to combating chronic absences, according to the report.
Those elements work together to “pull people in or push them out,” said David Osher, vice president at the American Institutes for Research and a co-author of the report.
“You want school to be a place people want to be,” he said. “For too many students, particularly too many students who face economic disadvantage and often are culturally marginalized, what they experience in school tends to not be highly engaging.”
Chronic absenteeism challenges Metro Nashville Public Schools, particularly at the high school level. A third—and in some schools, even more— of MNPS high school students miss at least 18 days of school per year. If our goal is to see all Nashville students receive a high-quality education, we must contend with the factors that keep students out of the classroom.