Friday, February 19, 2016

Breaking: White House & Department of Education Declare War on Chronic Student Absenteeism #chronic absenteeism

Today the White House and the federal Department of Education, in partnership with the Ad Council, launched a campaign designed to reduce chronic school absenteeism.

The press release states as follows:
"Chronic absenteeism, or missing at least ten percent of school days in the school year, or a month or more of school, excused or unexcused, is a leading cause of low achievement and a powerful predictor of which students will eventually drop out of school. Five to seven and a half million children miss a month or more of school each year, putting them at significant risk of falling behind and not graduating from high school. Half the high-need students who fall off-track to high school graduation do so in just 65 school districts. Chronic absenteeism is often the first flag.
A recent report by America’s Promise Alliance shows that students in our highest need communities typically experience “relationship poverty,” which greatly increases the odds that they will dropout. The research showed that having a caring adult in their lives was a major counter force to dropping out.  Having a caring adult in school had the largest impact of all – reducing the likelihood of leaving school by 25%.
Every Student, Every Day Campaign is focused on the estimated 5 to 7.5 million students who are chronically absent each year. Defined as missing at least 10 percent (approximately 18 days) of school days in a school year, chronic absenteeism puts students at heightened risk of falling behind and dropping out of school. Together, communities can address and eliminate chronic absenteeism, and ultimately boost student success and strengthen our nation's workforce and our future prosperity. As part of this initiative, the Administration is collaborating with states, local communities, and nonprofit, faith, and philanthropic organizations to support local, cross-sector efforts."
You may recall that last October, the Department of Education, along with three other agencies announced a joint program to combat chronic absenteeism. Dear Colleague Letter 115 LRP 48468 (Depts of Labor, Justice, Education & HUD 10/7/15) 

You can read the current DOE fact sheet here.


  1. This is certainly an area of concern. Chronic absenteeism results in many loses - student success is impacted, and schools lose out on money generated by Daily Attendance.
    Questions that come to mind are: Why is this happening? and What are all creative ways to intervene? Perhaps some absentee numbers are high due to medical or significant health matters, but if it is an issue of 'Relationship Poverty' then that needs to be addressed separately. A look at budget allocation may give room for adjustment to allow for specialized providers who are responsible for identifying and reaching out to these at-risk students.

  2. This is a big problem in my current school district and it seems as if there is nothing you can do to require the parents to get their children to school. I look forward to following this campaign and seeing where it takes education.

  3. In the school District that I work at I feel that there is a lack of respect from Parents for the school system and regular school attendance. The kicker is that parents will often take off for winter vacation to their country of origin for 3-4 weeks. It is such a problem that schools in my area have a four week Christmas Break to deter parents from taking their child out of school. Also, parents will pick up their child early to have them babysit their younger siblings. While a cultural thing, the lack of respect for the school and the school system is appalling.