Education seems to matter more than ever, now taking center-stage–and not just about money matters. No; take for instance, the page one, above-the-fold USA Today June 12, bold-faced headline that read, “Classroom Scourge: Chronic Absenteeism.”

 Spot on…

Since 2018, chronic absenteeism has all but doubled nationwide. Back then, it hit 15% representing some 8 million missing students. Meanwhile, the government has some catching up to do. Its latest data shows that, in the 2021-22 school year, the gone missing numbers soared to 29.7%, amounting to some14.7 million kids who skipped at least 10%–18 days–of the typical 180-day school year.


Harvard’s Jal Mehta suggests that, “The current debate seems to take it as a given that the students and not the schools are the problem.” Along with rote academic tasks that provide little reason to be completed, he adds that, “Many students, especially the most disadvantaged, have few, if any, meaningful relationships with the adults in their buildings.”

That’s backed by a recent EdWeek Research Center survey of 1,056 high schoolers that found…

  • Just 57% said that the adults in their school care about their well-being and success—at least to a moderated extent; and
  • 20% said, “the adults in their school care little or not at all about their well-being and success.”

Yet, and as reported in that USA Today article, an April poll ranked lacking personal relationships #4 out of some 11 factors behind chronic absenteeism:

  1. 60% of students said school is boring; just 20% like school, while 33% find attendance a waste of time.
  2. 40% claimed a mental health issue—persistent sadness and hopelessness, also anxiety and depression.
  3. Just 33% said their school adequately addresses bullying.
  4. “Less than 25% said many or all of their teachers try to understand what their lives are like outside of school.”
  5. COVID’s stay-at-home mandates have left some parents confused as to when to send their kids to school or keep them home.
  6. Mondays were named, as many parents have that day off and say it’s the only time they can spend with their children.
  7. Remote instruction made in-person instruction less important to some parents.

Rounding out the list:

  • Family hardships
  • Fears about campus security
  • Poverty
  • Limited transportation options due to staff shortages, service changes, and/or delays.

Meanwhile… finds that, “Employees with a strong sense of belonging are twice as likely to be engaged, productive, resilient, and committed…”

Similarly, Education Week’s Arianna Prothero reports that, “Students who feel connected to school are more likely to attend and perform well and less likely to misbehave and feel sad and hopeless. There are even health benefits well into adulthood linked to a strong connection to school as an adolescent.”

Surprise?? Surprise??

~ With my thanks, Carol