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The Importance of Being in School: A Report on Absenteeism in the Nation's Public Schools

This Executive Summary to a report on The Importance of Being in School: A Report on Absenteeism in the Nation's Public Schools looks at data from six states on their measures of chronic absenteeism: Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Nebraska, Oregon and Rhode Island. The states reported chronic absentee rates from 6 percent to 23 percent, with chronic absenteeism most prevalent in urban areas, among low-income students, and concentrated in relatively few schools.Chronic absenteeism begins to rise in middle school and continues climbing through 12th grade.

The report discusses three broad categories for why students miss school:

  • Students who cannot attend school due to illness, family responsibilities, housing instability, the need to work or involvement with the juvenile justice system.
  • Students who will not attend school to avoid bullying, unsafe conditions, harassment and embarrassment.
  • Students who do not attend school because they, or their parents, do not see the value in being there, they have something else they would rather do, or nothing stops them from skipping school.
Target Audience: Administrator, Policy maker
Classification: Report
Indicator area: Attendance
Source: Johns Hopkins University School of Education and the Everybody Graduates Center, Get Schooled
Authors: Robert Balfanz, Vaughan Byrnes