Education news. In context.
Are Children Learning
Future of Schools
Future of Teaching
Future of Work
In the Classroom
Movers and Shakers
Sorting the Students
The Other 60 Percent
Who Is in Charge
Find a Job
Republish Our Stories
Code of Ethics
Our News Partners
Work with Us
Following the money
September 12, 2018
Looking to curb absenteeism, other chronic problems, Memphis invests in data specialists with Gates money
Solving problems like chronic absenteeism is the goal of the nearly $1 million philanthropic dollars earmarked for 15 Shelby County schools.
September 7, 2018
As Griffin battles low enrollment in Tennessee’s state district, she looks to a school with a waitlist
The Achievement School District is looking to Westwood Elementary to help her find answers to one of the state district’s longtime issues: lack of students.
Back to school
September 4, 2018
Newark officials deliver a message to students on first day: Keep showing up
Newark officials hope to improve the district's attendance rate and combat chronic absenteeism this school year.
April 23, 2018
Nearly 60 percent of Newark 12th-graders are chronically absent. Now, a conference tries to tackle the issue.
Newark's chronic absenteeism rate is more than double the national average.
March 2, 2018
Week in review: The truants of kindergarten
While some might assume that Detroit’s sky-high chronic absenteeism rate is driven by teens skipping class, the problem in city schools is actually…
February 16, 2018
Week in Review: Chilling news
It was a busy week on the education beat with news emerging from a schedule packed with education town halls, state and city…
November 30, 2017
As districts across the country try to drive down absenteeism, New York City leads the way
New York City began attacking chronic absenteeism a decade ago. Now, the de Blasio administration has made it a central focus of its school-turnaround program.
November 6, 2017
Stolen trucks, younger siblings and Halloween worries: A social worker tackles student absences one at a time
In a bid to get kids to come to school regularly and avoid the drop-out track, some Denver schools use lots of carrots and a few sticks.
October 3, 2017
What states told Chalkbeat about how they will monitor their chronic absenteeism data
Students’ rates of chronic absenteeism are going to be used to judge schools in most states.
October 3, 2017
Student absences are about to have higher stakes in most states. Will cheating follow?
It’s unclear if most states have systems in place to accurately monitor absenteeism data at all.
April 20, 2017
Counting attendance in school ratings could be smart — or completely misleading
Joshua Starr asks the real question: What are schools doing to create good reasons for students to attend?
March 30, 2017
Colorado schools soon will be judged by a new measure: How many students are chronically absent
Colorado's decision to make chronic absenteeism one of the factors it uses in gauging school success could push more districts to adopt or expand programs to address it.
December 15, 2016
Chronic absenteeism is lower in New York City charter schools than in district schools, report finds
“I think attendance is a measure of school culture and school quality more than anything else."
October 5, 2016
How do you fight chronic absenteeism? Put a nurse in every school.
A staggering 44,000 Memphis students report suffering from a chronic health condition, contributing to the city's high rate of students missing school.
September 6, 2016
New York City among districts with high student absenteeism
Half of all chronically-absent students were concentrated in 4 percent of school districts, including New York City, according to a report by Attendance Works.
December 16, 2014
Citing NYC as a model, state moves to track ‘chronically absent’ students
State officials wants districts to pay more attention to students who are frequently absent, and they are pointing to New York City’s efforts to spot and support such students as a model.
October 1, 2013
What Could Have Kept My Friends In School
I know the effects of absenteeism from my own experience as a student at John Adams High School in Queens, and from observing my friends. When I read the list of the possible solutions the Youth Justice Board proposed to deal with chronic absenteeism, I thought of my own high school and what might have worked there.
May 10, 2012
City subway ads redirect anti-truancy message to parents
New anti-truancy advertisements released by the city today. In the two years since the city launched its initiative to combat truancy and longterm school absences, they targeted students, with the help of teachers and celebrities like Magic Johnson. Now the initiative is turning its attention to parents. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced today an advertisement campaign to inspire parents to make sure their children are in school each morning, and guide them to resources if their children are not. Each ad shows images of students and the public service announcement-inspired message: "It's 9 a.m. Do you know where your kids are?" Bloomberg told an auditorium of reporters, city officials, and young students and teachers at P.S. 91 in Queens that the city will be pushing to help parents increase their childrens' attendance rates and understand the academic consequences of chronic absenteeism. Repeat offenders in elementary and middle school are more likely to drop out when they get to high school, he said. "But many parents...don't know what to do about it, and that's why we're launching the ad campaign," he said. "It points parents towards help." The city will post these ads on public transportation and metro cards, in schools and community centers, and online. The campaign directs parents to visit the Department of Education web site, where they can find out how many days of school their child has missed. Librarians will be trained to help parents access this information, which requires a student identification number. And four times a year Department of Education officials will station themselves in the libraries to give more detailed advice to parents.
December 5, 2011
Anti-truancy initiative brings peer group mentoring to Marta Valle
Marta Valle High School seniors and freshmen participating in Peer Group Connection last week When Andy Rodriguez and Shanique Josephs told 15 Marta Valle High School freshmen last week that only half of all black and Hispanic students graduate from high school, the room grew quiet. “That means half of you guys probably won’t graduate — according to statistics," Josephs said. "How does that make you feel?" Rodriguez and Josephs were very much trying to teach the freshmen in front of them, but they are not teachers. They are two of 24 Marta Valle seniors participating in Peer Group Connection, a mentoring program run by the Princeton Center for Leadership Training. Used by more than 150 schools across the country, the program has so far been used in New York City only by elite private schools, such as Spence and Dalton. The program came to Marta Valle, the first city public school to adopt it, through Mayor Bloomberg's year-old Interagency Task Force on Truancy, Chronic Absenteeism and School Engagement. (Washington Irving High School will start using Peer Group Connection next semester.) “We’ve been doing this program for so long in elite private schools so we love being able to mirror that experience for students in more high-need communities,” said Margo Ross, PCLT’s senior director of development. While the range of schools have different needs — and adjust their mentoring curriculum accordingly — the essence of the model remains the same. PGC calls for select seniors to enroll in a full-year, credit-bearing course which meets daily and trains them to be peer leaders. The course is co-taught by two teachers who have gotten special training. Once a week the seniors visit freshmen advisories for an “outreach class” in which they lead activities and discussions about relevant topics such as graduation, goal-setting, and decision-making. Seniors get credits towards graduation and a sense of responsibility. Freshmen get peer role models and help making the tough transition into high school — something that experts say is essential to keep them from dropping out.
February 10, 2011
City takes to the phones in battle against chronic absenteeism
Last year, the city launched a campaign to reduce absenteeism with a letter home. Today, it's following up with a phone call. Students from 25 schools who have missed 10 or more days this year will soon start receiving early-morning wake-up calls from celebrities such as Magic Johnson and the rapper Big Boi, the city announced today. The calls, which city officials say will eventually be made to frequently absent students in all schools, mark the second phase in the city's push to boost attendance. The first phase, which launched in August, marshaled resources from across city agencies to target the most frequently truant students at the 25 schools. Extreme absenteeism is down at those schools, the city said today. The attendance initiatives follow a 2009 report by Center for New York City researchers that revealed that the city's 91 percent average attendance rate masks chronic absenteeism among a fifth of students. The pitfalls of tardiness are explored in two pieces in the GothamSchools Community section today, coincidentally enough. Collin Lawrence, a former teacher who has been recounting his four years working at a small high school in Brooklyn, writes that no one seemed to care that few students got to school when it started. And launching a new column, Bronx high school college counselor Brendan Lowe describes waking up at 5:30 a.m. last month to call students scheduled to take the SAT. Lowe writes: Crazy? Perhaps. Did we help our students? In a short-term sense, absolutely. Last year, 40 of 59 students (67 percent) failed to show up for their first sitting of the SAT, thereby wasting one of two possible fee waivers. This year, 57 of 60 students — 95 percent — actually took the test. The city's complete press release is below:
June 10, 2010
New city task force to examine chronic absenteeism and truancy
Mayor Bloomberg chose a rare day off for city students to launch a new effort to study ways to stop truancy. A new city task force led by the mayor's chief policy and strategy advisor, John Feinblatt, will investigate how to improve the city's anti-truancy policies. A key goal is to track student academic and attendance data to determine which students are at risk of chronic absenteeism and notify their parents. The task force has been assigned to figure out the best way to make that goal reality. One in ten city students is absent from school on an average day, and research shows that nearly three-quarters of students who are chronically absent in sixth grade eventually drop out of high school, city officials said. The city is billing the mayor's announcement as the "first-ever task force" to address chronic absenteeism and truancy, but the city has a checkered history of attention to the problem. Currently, the city runs a small "Attendance Court" program in three schools, offering around 45 chronic truants counseling and occasional tough talk from a judge.
In your inbox.
Chalkbeat New York
How I Teach
Rise & Shine Colorado
Rise & Shine Detroit
Rise & Shine Indiana
Rise & Shine Tennessee