The Georgia Department of Education has long made attendance a priority, seeing a correlation with completing high school. For example, DOE found Georgia ninth graders who miss 15 or more days of school have a 30.73% graduation rate. In comparison, ninth graders absent five days or less have an 82.24% graduation rate.
Attendance Works, a national initiative addressing chronic absences, considers chronic absenteeism a canary in a coal mine that schools need to take seriously Those protracted absences this year of teachers and students come with a price. Chronically absent students not only experience lower academic gains, but they are also more apt to become socially disengaged and alienated. Studies have correlated chronic absenteeism with higher dropout rates, poor health outcomes and an increased likelihood of interacting with the criminal justice system.
Among the key findings in the 2022 School Pulse Panel:
• Public schools reported student chronic absenteeism and teacher absences have increased compared to prior school years.
• More than three-quarters of public schools reported it is more difficult to get substitutes than it was before the pandemic. At 87%, schools in the South reported the highest percentage of classes covered by non-teaching staff when substitute teachers could not be found.
• Nearly three-quarters of public schools are frequently relying on administrators, non-teaching staff, and teachers on their free periods to cover classes.