Johns Hopkins University report about school absenteeism

17 May

In School Absenteeism: Absent from the classroom leads to absence from participation in this society, moi said:

Education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process.

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/school-absenteeism-absent-from-the-classroom-leads-to-absence-from-participation-in-this-society/

John Hopkins has released the report, The Importance of Being in School: A Report on Absenteeism in the Nation’s Public Schools. Here is a summary from Everyone Graduates Center:

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

America’s education system is based on the assumption that barring illness or an extraordinary event, students are in class every weekday. So strong is this assumption that it is not even measured. Indeed, it is the rare state education department, school district or principal that can tell you how many students have missed 10 percent or more of the school year or in the previous year missed a month or more school − two common definitions of chronic absence.

Because it is not measured, chronic absenteeism is not acted upon. Like bacteria in a hospital, chronic absenteeism can wreak havoc long before it is discovered. If the evidence in this report is borne out through more systematic data collection and analysis, that havoc may have already undermined school reform efforts of the past quarter century and negated the positive impact of future efforts.

Students need to attend school daily to succeed. The good news of this report is that being in school leads to succeeding in school. Achievement, especially in math, is very sensitive to attendance, and absence of even two weeks during one school year matters. Attendance also strongly affects standardized test scores and graduation and dropout rates. Educators and policymakers cannot truly understand achievement gaps or efforts to close them without considering chronic absenteeism.

Summary

Chronic absenteeism is not the same as truancy or average daily attendance – the attendance rate schools use for state report cards and federal accountability. Chronic absenteeism means missing 10 percent of a school year for any reason. A school can have average daily attendance of 90 percent and still have 40 percent of its students chronically absent, because on different days, different students make up that 90 percent.

Data from only six states address this issue: Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Nebraska, Oregon and Rhode Island. How these states measure chronic absenteeism, however, differs by number of days and by whether or not data include transfer students.

Such limited data produce only an educated guess at the size of the nation’s attendance challenge: A national rate of 10 percent chronic absenteeism seems conservative and it could be as high as 15 percent, meaning that 5 million to 7.5 million students are chronically absent. Looking at this more closely sharpens the impact. In Maryland, for instance, there are 58 elementary schools that have 50 or more chronically absent students; that is, two classrooms of students who miss more than a month of school a year. In a high school, where chronic absenteeism is higher, there are 61 schools where 250 or more students are missing a month or more of school.

The six states reported chronic absentee rates from 6 percent to 23 percent, with high poverty urban areas reporting up to one-third of students chronically absent. In poor rural areas, one in four students can miss at least a month’s worth of school. The negative impact chronic absenteeism has on school success is increased because students who are chronically absent in one year are often chronically absent in multiple years. As a result, particularly in high poverty areas, significant numbers of students are missing amounts of school that are staggering: on the order of six months to over a year, over a five year period.

Chronic absenteeism is most prevalent among low-income students. Gender and ethnic background do not appear to play a role in this. The youngest and the oldest students tend to have the highest rates of chronic absenteeism, with students attending most regularly in third through fifth grades. Chronic absenteeism begins to rise in middle school and continues climbing through 12th grade, with seniors often having the highest rate of all. The data also suggest that chronic absenteeism is concentrated in relatively few schools, with 15 percent of schools in Florida, for example, accounting for at least half of all chronically absent students.

Missing school matters:

  • In a nationally representative data set, chronic absence in kindergarten was associated with lower academic performance in first grade. The impact is twice as great for students from low-income families.
  • A Baltimore study found a strong relationship between sixth-grade attendance and the percentage of students graduating on time or within a year of their expected high school graduation.
  • Chronic absenteeism increases achievement gaps at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
  • Because students reared in poverty benefit the most from being in school, one of the most effective strategies for providing pathways out of poverty is to do what it takes to get these students in school every day. This alone, even without improvements in the American education system, will drive up achievement, high school graduation, and college attainment rates.

Students miss school for many reasons. These can, however, be divided into three broad categories:

  • 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.

Despite being pervasive, though overlooked, chronic absenteeism is raising flags in some schools and communities. This awareness is leading to attendance campaigns that are so vigorous and comprehensive they pay off quickly. Examples of progress nationally and at state, district, and school levels give hope to the challenge of chronic absenteeism, besides being models for others.

In addition to these efforts, both the federal government, state departments of education, and school districts need to regularly measure and report the rates of chronic absenteeism and regular attendance (missing five days or less a year) for every school. State and district policies need to encourage every student to attend school every day and support school districts, schools, non-profits, communities, and parents in using evidence-based strategies to act upon these data to propel all students to attend school daily. Mayors and governors have critical roles to play in leading inter-agency task forces that bring health, housing, justice, transportation, and education agencies together to organize coordinated efforts to help every student attend every day.

Download the Full Report

Download the full report, available here in pdf.

Download the presentation tool, available here as a  PowerPoint show.

Report Coverage in the News

New York Times

Huffington Post

http://new.every1graduates.org/the-importance-of-being-in-school/

Resources from the Johns Hopkins report:

For Schools

For Parents

For City Leaders

In Should we pay children to go to school? Moi said:

The disintegration of the family has profound implications for the education success of children.

Huffington Post is reporting in the article, Ohio High School Paying Students To Show Up, Behave In Class:

A Cincinnati high school is paying its students to go to school.

The Dohn Community High School, a charter school in Ohio, started a program this week that would pay seniors $25 weekly and underclassmen $10 weekly in Visa gift cards for showing up to class every day, being on time and behaving in school. The move aims to encourage students to stay in school and graduate from the school where 90 percent of its students live in poverty. Fewer than 20 percent are in two-parent households.

Money is important to them,” school Chief Administrative Officer Ken Furrier told CBS Cleveland. “We can’t teach them if they’re not here.”

Every week a student is paid, an additional $5 goes into a savings account, payable upon graduation. The program is being funded by $40,000 from several areas, including private donors and federal Workforce Investment Act dollars funneled through the Easter Seals, a community-based health agency, KMSP-TV reports.

The target is graduation,” Furrier told Reuters. “We do almost everything we can to get the kids to there.”

Critics say the school is rewarding students for basic things students should be doing already, but at Dohn, “they’re not doing it,” Principal Ramone Davenport told KMSP-TV. “We’ve tried everything else.”

Davenport tells the Associated Press that the program is already working and attendance is up. Dohn was designated by the Ohio Department of Education as an “academic emergency” last year, with just a 14 percent graduation rate during the 2010-2011 academic year. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/15/ohio-high-school-paying-s_n_1280227.html?ref=email_share

This school is dealing with the reality of certain education settings because they have not absorbed from their upbringing the thought that education is crucial to later success in life. Further, these children often face emotional and economic challenges because of their family circumstance.

In answer to whether children should be paid to come to school and achieve – for some children, this may be an option. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/should-we-pay-children-to-go-to-school/

Related:

We give up as a society: Jailing parents because kids are truant https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/we-give-up-as-a-society-jailing-parents-because-kids-are-truant/

Hard truths: The failure of the family              https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/hard-truths-the-failure-of-the-family/

See:

Don’t skip: Schools waking up on absenteeism           http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44704948/ns/today-education_nation/t/dont-skip-schools-waking-absenteeism/

School Absenteeism, Mental Health Problems Linked http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/12/25/school-absenteeism-mental-health-problems-linked/32937.html

A National Portrait of Chronic Absenteeism in the Early Grades        http://www.nccp.org/publications/pub_771.html

Resources:

US Department Of Education Helping Series which are a number of pamphlets to help parents and caregivers

How Parents Can Help Their Child Prepare for School Assignments

The ABCs of Ready to Learn

Getting Young Children Ready to Learn

Ebony Magazine’s How to Prepare Your Child for Success

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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