Aug. 26, 2013 — As 55 million students return to U.S. schools this fall, 40 national organizations and as many as 900 schools and community groups are sounding the alarm about a crisis of absenteeism that is eroding academic achievement and putting students at greater risk of dropping out.
Research shows that 5 million to 7.5 million students are missing nearly a month of school every year and that these absences – excused or unexcused – add up to academic trouble. Too many absences in the early grades can leave children unable to master reading by the end of third grade, a key indicator of school success. By middle and high school, chronic absence becomes a red flag that a student may not graduate from high school.
“If we want to narrow achievement gaps and improve graduation rates, we’ve got to turn the tide on chronic absenteeism,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “That starts with parents and teachers building a culture of good attendance. It means school administrators paying attention to attendance data and intervening when students and schools are headed off track. And it means policymakers giving schools and families the tools they need to curb absences.”
During the first-ever nationwide recognition of Attendance Awareness Month:
Find out more about the Challenge Five strategy, including how to download a free toolkit, on the Believe 2 Become website.
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