Poverty Fueled Pandemic Impact on Schools’ Chronic Absenteeism

Posted by k-12 Dive on December 5, 2023

K-12 Dive explores how chronic absenteeism has impacted students from all backgrounds during the pandemic years, with the greatest effect at schools serving more students in poverty, according to an analysis of federal data released last week by Attendance Works. For schools where three-quarters or more of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, extreme chronic absenteeism almost tripled, from 25% to 69%, between the 2017-18 and 2021-22 school years. Extreme chronic absenteeism for schools serving up to a quarter of low-income students increased nearly fivefold, from 3% to 14%, but remained at much lower levels. Overall, the report found that poverty influenced the size and scale of the pandemic’s impact on chronic absences. About a third of districts nationwide reported half their schools experiencing extreme levels of chronic absence.

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