We’ve just posted a story I wrote about chronic absenteeism — when a student misses 10 percent or more school days for any reason, excused or unexcused.
A small, but growing number of school districts in California have begun to crunch the numbers to see which of their students are habitually out of school, and how many. Traditionally, schools have looked only at how many of their students attend school each day, on average, or how many were truant or tardy.
When you count excused absences, the number of kindergartners who miss 18 or more days of school might surprise you (unless you’re a kindergarten teacher).
In Oakland last year, 14 percent of the youngest students were chronically absent, but kindergarten absenteeism a problem for all kinds of school districts — big and small, rich and poor. One of my relatives, who teaches kindergarten at a private school in a very nice neighborhood, told me some parents keep their children home periodically just so they can spend time together, one on one.
This year, Oakland has launched an attendance initiative for kindergarten and first grades, called “Every Day Counts.” What is your school doing to educate families on the importance of attendance — and to help them get their children to school? Is it making its statistics available, by grade-level?
Teachers: Do you see the effects of absenteeism among your students?