Data Show Chronic Absenteeism is Widespread and Prevalent Among All Student Groups

by Ernie Melcher

A new analysis from the U.S. Department of Education shows that chronic absenteeism impacts students in all parts of the country and is prevalent among all races, as well as students with disabilities. The first-ever national comprehensive data collected on chronic absenteeism reveal that more than six million students—or thirteen percent of all students—missed at least fifteen days of school in the 2013-14 school year. The data paint a striking picture of how many students miss three weeks or more of school each year.
To shine a light on these widespread challenges, the Department is debuting a new interactive website showing the extent of the crisis in terms of geography, ethnicity, disability status, and school level.
U.S. Secretary of Education John B.King released the new data and website at the Every Student, Every Day National Conference, the first of its kind focusing on chronic absenteeism that aims to support states, local school districts, schools, and communities in their work to develop effective chronic absenteeism policy and practice; showcase how schools can address the root causes of the problem; and strengthen the collaborative capacity of multi-agency early warning systems to link students to necessary interventions, programs, and preventative services.
To address the concerns about the depth of the problem, the Obama Administration launched Every Student, Every Day: A National Initiative to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism last fall in response to recommendations put forth by President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Taskforce. Led by the White House and the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Justice, the effort is aimed at combating chronic absenteeism and urging states and local communities across the country to reduce absenteeism by at least 10 percent each year
The full press release is available at

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