School truancy has nearly doubled since pandemic

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While COVID-19 lockdowns and school closures are now thankfully in the rearview mirror, students and families are still dealing with the fallout from the decision to keep kids at home for what was in many cases nearly two years. One of the most glaring issues that lawmakers are becoming increasingly desperate to address is that many students now simply aren’t showing up to class at all.

According to U.S. Department of Education data, chronic absenteeism (defined as missing ten percent or more of the school year) has nearly doubled since the start of the pandemic.

In some cities and states, the numbers are even more stark. In California, for instance, the chronic absenteeism rate has skyrocketed to 30 percent from 12 percent pre-pandemic.

In New Mexico, 40 percent of students are now considered chronically absent, compared to 18 percent before the pandemic.

In New York City, the nation’s largest school district, chronic absenteeism hit 40 percent during the 2021-2022 school year – translating to roughly 375,000 students.

In Detroit, 77 percent of students were chronically absent during the 2021-2022 school year.

According to a recent report from Axios, a shocking 60 percent of high school students in Washington, D.C. were marked chronically absent during the 2022-2023 school year. That figure represents a nine percent increase from before the pandemic and a four percent increase from the 2021-2022 school year. This finding also comes after the city changed its policy to allow students to miss up to 40 percent of the school day and still not be considered absent.

Unsurprisingly, students who are chronically absent are significantly more likely to receive poor grades, not graduate, and end up in trouble with the law. A University of Chicago study has found that for each week of school, a ninth-grade student misses, he or she is 20 percent more likely to not earn a high school diploma. Conversely, students who go on to attend college have an average attendance rate of 98 percent.


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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!