Millions of U.S. Students Chronically Absent
18 percent of high school students are chronically absent.
Nearly 1 in 5 high school students is "chronically absent" from classes, and the percentage of students who miss at least 15 days in the course of an academic year only rises among students of color.
The findings, Secretary of Education John King said, “tear at the moral fabric of the nation.”
“These data should serve as a sobering reality check,” he said on a press call Monday.
The data come from the latest release from the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights. The biennial data set provides a snapshot of the education experiences of more than 50 million students in 95,000 schools across the U.S. during the 2013-2014 school year.
“The civil rights data collection shows a picture of opportunity offered and opportunity denied and to whom,” said Catherine Lhamon, the assistant secretary at the Office for Civil Rights. “It represents the real experiences of real students.”
For the first time, the data set includes in-depth information on chronic absenteeism, as defined by students who miss 15 or more of the school year's roughly 180 days.
In total, more than 6.5 million students – 13 percent of all students in the U.S. – are chronically absent. That figure includes 18 percent of all high school students, or 3 million students, and 11 percent of elementary school students, or 3.5 million students.
In high school, 20 percent or more black, Latino, American Indian or Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders are chronically absent, as are multiracial students and those still learning English.
The data also show that chronic student absenteeism exists where the majority of teachers are also frequently absent. For example, black students represent 15 percent of all students, but 21 percent of chronically absent students who attend schools where more than half of teachers were absent for more than 10 days.
“These data are a call for action and an urgent call for action,” King said “Particularly distressing are the numbers for students of color. When you think about the impact, more than one-fifth of African-American students in high school being chronically absent Millions of U.S. Students Chronically Absent | US News: