Lincoln, Neb. — Millions of students nationwide are chronically absent from school, meaning they are missing enough school days to be considered academically troubled. Thousands of public schools across the United States have chronic student absence rates that affect 30 percent or more of their students.
These statistics from a recent report by Attendance Works are alarming, but Nebraska schools are doing better than most of the nation. According to the new report, Nebraska ranks second only to North Dakota for the best attendance rates.
Only 10 percent of Nebraska schools reported high or extreme levels of chronic absence. The national median is 24 percent. Two states have more than 60 percent of their schools reporting high or extreme levels of chronic absence.
According to Attendance Works, chronic absence erodes students’ ability to learn and achieve in school. It increases the likelihood that children will be unable to read well by third grade, fail classes in middle school, and drop out of high school.
The Nebraska education system has placed an emphasis on attendance through its accountability measures. Under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), chronic absence is a required reporting metric for local and state report cards. Nebraska has taken an additional step by choosing chronic absence as an indicator for school quality and student success.
The full report on chronic absence can be found at ATTENDANCEWORKS.ORG