Written by: Danielle Guerin
Throughout my academic career, I was always told “you can’t learn it if you aren’t here”. I took that saying to heart, only slightly ignoring it when I wanted to be a little rebellious. Yes, I’m admitting that I faked sick a couple times during my high school career, but never enough to affect my school work or to be noticed. According to a new study that was released on Wednesday by The Indiana Partnerships Center, at least 55,000 students in Indiana are “chronically absent”. The studydefines chronic absence as missing 10% of the school year, whether excused or unexcused. In other words, it’s missing 18 days of school per year or 2 days of school per month.
2 days. It doesn’t seem like much, but it is. During those 2 days, a student can miss a pop quiz, the explanation of a new concept, or even a test. In school, every day matters. Missing school matters. According to the study, for ninth graders, missing school is a better predictor of dropping out than eighth grade test scores.
Most of you reading this would agree with me that being present at school is the first step to academic success. So, why is it that we can’t get the students there? Are they disengaged or bored? Well, we should re-engage them and make them like school. Learning isn’t boring; it’s actually pretty fun to discover all these new things. Maybe the students don’t feel safe at school; again it’s our job to change that. Or they have any other number of barriers; if they do, we need to find out and do our best to break those barriers down. I’m not saying it will be easy. Chronic absenteeism isn’t a simple problem, but it is a solvable one.
To learn more about this, go to www.MissingSchoolMattersIN.org