Myth 1: Attending Kindergarten Regularly Doesn’t Really Matter
Reality: Chronic absence (missing 10 percent of school days) in kindergarten is associated with lower academic performance in 1st grade, especially in reading for Latino students. For poor children, unable to make up for time on task, the poor performance extended through 5th grade. By 6th grade chronic absence is a clear predictor of drop-out. By 9th grade, missing 20 percent of the school year is a better predictor of dropping out than test scores.
Chronic absence in the early grades and beyond can affect all students when teachers must spend time reviewing concepts for children who missed the lesson in the first place. And it can cost schools money when state funding is linked to attendance. Chronic absence can serve as an early warning signal that a child or a school is headed off track. It can reflect unhealthy economic and social conditions.