August 31st, 2012
Skipping to Nowhere: New Report Outlines Costs of Cutting Class
For years, national leaders, educators, and policymakers have been working to improve student achievement, from strengthening curriculum to improving teaching and learning. But what happens when students choose to skip school and don’t participate in the classroom at all?
According to “Skipping to Nowhere,” a recent report by the Get Schooled Foundation, young people not only admit to frequently skipping school, but they do so without parental knowledge. More than 61 percent of school skippers cite boredom as the cause for cutting class, while more than 80 percent of students who skip school once a week think it does not affect their grades or decrease their chances of graduating.
But the fact is simple: As many as 7.5 million American students in kindergarten through 12th grade – that’s 15 percent of students – miss 18 days or more in the school year. And research shows chronic absence correlates with lower test scores and higher dropout rates. Eighteen days spread over a school year can mean missing just two days a month. Most students and families don’t recognize how quickly these days add or—or the negative effect these absences can have on academic performance.
So how do we address this? One solution is to stop the problem before it starts. We have to remember what we’re seeing right now is the impact of not reaching those at-risk students early on. If we build good attendance habits early on, we can nip this problem in the bud before children fall behind and disengage from school.
In addition, Get Schooled offers the following tips for working with students:
- Bring them into the conversation. Whether it’s through parents, educators, or role models, young people need to understand the care placed on their future goals and aspirations. Communicating with students on a more intimate level will also help parents know when they are cutting class and help avoid falling behind.
- Give them the hard facts. Students admit that if they understood the consequences of skipping school, they would reconsider their actions. Get Schooled offers tools and strategies – from providing digital content to participating in social media – so they can understand the importance of regular attendance.
- Engage them in the classroom. Students yearn for a connection between their own life and their studies. Connecting them inside the classroom gives them not only a more fulfilling education, but also the motivation to pursue their dreams.
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