A new study released this week revealed chronic absenteeism continues to plague the American school system as teachers struggle to keep students in the classroom year-round.
“Ninety percent of students showed up to school on a typical day this fall, according to a new federal survey, a figure that experts say remains too low amid national concern around a rise in chronic absenteeism,” the Washington Post wrote in a recent report.
The other 10% of students are chronically absent from school, meaning that they are “out of school for at least 18 days, or 10 percent, of an academic year,” The Post reported.
NEW REPORT SHOWS A MAJORITY OF STUDENTS ATTEND SCHOOLS WITH HIGH OR EXTREME LEVELS OF CHRONIC ABSENCE
The data was published Thursday by the National Center for Education Statistics and follows on other studies that tracked alarmingly high rates of absenteeism after the COVID pandemic years.
An August study from Stanford Research found that more than 25% of students were classified as chronically absent in the 2021-22 school year because they had missed at least 10% of the school year. Comparatively, before the pandemic, only 15% of students had such high levels of absenteeism, the study noted.
Between the 2018-19 and 2021-22 academic years, the percentage of students classified as chronically absent increased by 13.5 points. This increase, which equates to a 91% spike, suggests an estimated 6.5 million more students are now falling into the category of being chronically absent compared to before the pandemic.
“We simply cannot accept chronic absenteeism as the new normal,” director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Neera Tande, said at an event Wednesday, per The Post. “Students have to be present if they are to learn.”
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Forensic psychiatrist Carole Lieberman told Fox News Digital in a statement that student absenteeism has wide-ranging effects on America’s economy.
“The economic impact of school absenteeism is tremendous — both in terms of the ultimate earning power of the absentee students and on the overall economy,” Lieberman wrote. “Absenteeism leads to kids not doing well in school, which discourages them and causes many to drop out before being graduated from high school. Most of these end up in dead end, low-income jobs.”
Before the pandemic, 25% of all enrolled students attended schools with high or extreme chronic absences.
Fox News’ Joshua Q. Nelson and Jamie Joseph contributed to this report.
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