This blog post by Attendance Works Director Hedy Chang was originally published on the California School Board Association’s blog.
Do you know why the Local Control Funding Formula holds districts accountable for monitoring chronic absence? It is because investments in improving curriculum and instruction, including adoption of the Common Core – only make a difference if students are in the classroom. Chronic absence, missing 10% or more of school for any reason, as early as prekindergarten and kindergarten is associated with lower third grade reading scores. By sixth grade it becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school. In ninth grade, it’s a stronger indicator of dropout than eighth grade test scores. Low-income students, who don’t have the resources to make up for time lost in classroom instruction, are especially hard hit.