Absenteeism isn’t the issue that kids are coming to class but they’re not learning, it’s rather the issue that there’s so much chronic absence that kids are missing out on the instruction, and not learning. Some might see absenteeism nothing as bad as it sounds. Take the precocious teen earning high marks despite skipping class: the idealized version of an effortless youth for whom success comes easy. But this is not the whole picture; absenteeism belies a much harsher reality.
Chronic absenteeism is generally defined as missing at least 15 school days each year which isn’t uncommon at all.
Missing just two days a month of school for any reason exposes kids to a cascade of academic setbacks, from lower reading and math scores to higher risks of dropping out of high school, according to research.
Students experience tremendous adversity in their lives — including poverty, health challenges, community violence, and difficult family circumstances. Such episodes can lead to students avoiding school for long periods of time. Students who skip school may also be caring for younger siblings, experiencing neglect or homelessness or facing related traumas. All of which might first and foremost jeopardize students’ mental health, and also make them more likely not to attend school as usual.
Poor attendance itself can cause problems with peers and adults at school as apart from disruption it causes to academic achievement.
Beyond academics, students who frequently miss school are less likely to adopt the behaviors and social norms that employers might expect.
Psychologists on school campuses can address the factors that may drive chronic absenteeism. But is it enough?
How to stop absenteeism?