Chronic absenteeism is a problem that is sweeping the nation in regard to children’s attendance in schools. Students who are chronically absent (meaning they miss at least 15 days of school in a year, whether excused or unexcused) are at serious risk of falling behind in school.
Just two absences per month, even if excused, can increase the chances that a student will drop out of high school or have other negative impacts. When children are absent from school, they miss out on consistent instruction that is needed to develop basic skills or building blocks that set them up for educational success. Children in early grades (K-3) are likely to fall behind in crucial reading skills. In a study done by the state of California, it was found that of the children who were chronically absent in their early years of education, only 17% were reading on grade level when they entered fourth grade. More so, children who fail to read on grade level by the start of fourth grade are four times more likely than students who are on grade level to drop out of high school. Adults without a high school education generally earn lower incomes and experience higher unemployment than their peers with a high school diploma, putting them at greater risk for poverty.