At the start of school year 2020-2021, staff and students continued to experience instability as schools struggled to provide safe yet effective learning environments for students. K-12 Dive reported that around 30% of students across the country were consistently absent during the 2021-22 school year:

“Dive Brief:

“The percentage of students nationwide who were chronically absent during the 2021-22 school year almost doubled compared to pre-pandemic rates, rising from 16% to 30%, according to a 50-state data analysis by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

“While chronic absenteeism is one of the key challenges hindering students’ success, the Casey Foundation found adverse childhood experiences — like family economic hardship or parents divorcing, separating or going to jail — are another major contributing factor. Some 40% of students had gone through an adverse childhood experience in 2021-22, the foundation said.

“To address these challenges, the Casey Foundation recommends increasing students’ access to low-cost or free school meals, high-dosage tutoring and a reliable internet connection. States and school districts should also invest in community schools and improve attendance tracking, the report said.

“Dive Insight:

“The report from the Casey Foundation highlights recent data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, particularly noting how chronic absenteeism can impact students’ reading proficiency. The Baltimore-based private philanthropy focuses on improving outcomes for children and young people.

“When looking at the percentage of 4th grade students who scored at or above the reading proficiency level, the foundation found students who had perfect attendance within a month’s time in 2022 saw the highest rate of reading proficiency at 40%. The more days a student missed within the month, the more likely their reading scores dropped.

“Among 4th grade students who missed one to two days of school, for instance, only 34% had a proficient reading score. At the low end, just 14% of students who missed more than 10 days had a proficient reading score.

“The factors driving chronic absenteeism — which include housing insecurity, poverty, unmet basic needs, health issues and student disengagement — were in play long before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Casey Foundation said. However, its report cited research showing that the pandemic both worsened these underlying causes and developed new challenges, such as an uptick in anxiety and other mental health issues among students, that can ultimately heighten chronic absenteeism rates.”

To read the entire K-12 Dive article, click HERE.