With thanks to Education Week‘s Lovey Cooper, here are the absentee numbers and where they’re the highest, based on research by Johns Hopkins University’s Robert Balfanz and Hedy N. Change, director of Attendance Works:

  • Their analysis, “Preventing Missed Opportunity,” is based on data from the  U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights and found that 6.5 million kids were chronically absent from school during the 2013-14 school year. In other words, they missed 15 or more days which translates to 3 or more weeks of school.
  • That number represents some 13% of all students.
  • At least 89% of public schools reported some degree of chronic absenteeism.
  • These absent kids were in just 4% of our nation’s school districts and in 12% of schools, translating to 654 districts in 47 states and D.C.
  • Urban districts have both high rates and large numbers of chronically absent students. These include those in Philadelphia, Detroit, and Baltimore.
  • Many poor, rural districts also have high rates and represent a majority of districts reporting rates of 30% or higher.

Concluded Balfanz, “What’s clear from our analysis is that chronic absenteeism follows poverty wherever it is found in significant concentrations.”

And as Chang noted, “All the best instruction in schools does not make a difference if students are not there to benefit from it.”

And that’s a given…