Chronic Absenteeism

Chronic Absenteeism

We have all been there – kids missing school for one reason or another. Maybe it’s a vacation that just had to happen, sick family members, sick children. Whatever the case may be, generally we have the resources to help our kids stay on track and not fall behind if they miss school. But that simply isn’t the case for everyone.
Chronic absenteeism is an issue that everyone can help to solve. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, community leader, afterschool provider or mentoring provider – it is our duty to help these kids who do not have the resources that they need to keep from falling behind.


New research released by the Ad Council, shows that an overwhelming majority (86%) of parents understand their child’s school attendance plays a significant role in helping them succeed in graduating from high school. However, nearly half (49%) of parents believe it is okay for their child to miss three or more days of school – and that they won’t fall behind academically if they do. In reality, missing just two days per month makes children more likely to fall behind and less likely to graduate.
As early as elementary school, students who miss just two school days each month are more likely to fall behind in reading, writing and math, even if the absences are excused. While some challenges to a child’s attendance are unavoidable, it’s important to understand the impact of each absence.

Chronic Absenteeism

A student is chronically absent if he or she misses only two days of school per month (18 days per year). Even one year of chronic absence can cause a child to fall behind academically and decrease a child’s chances of graduating from high school, which can have long-term consequences on their financial independence, physical well-being and mental health.
Key Takeaways for Parents

  • Every absence matters.
  • Absences matter as early as elementary school.
  • Absences matter whether they are excused or unexcused.
  • Students who miss just two days of school each month, or 18 days in a year, are more likely to fall behind in reading, writing and math and less likely to graduate from high school.

Tips and Suggestions

  • Keep track of how many days of school your child has missed.
  • Figure out why your child is absent from school.
  • Are they dealing with a chronic illness like asthma?
  • Are they being bullied or struggling at school?
  • Are they staying home to help care for a family member?
  • Visit AbsencesAddUp.org to find help addressing the underlying cause of your child’s absences.
  • Ask teachers and community leaders for advice and specific resources in your area.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to other parents in your area to ask for help and share tips.

Chronic Absenteeism

Parents can prepare their children for a lifetime of success by making regular school attendance a priority and understanding the reasons for their child’s absences. Learn more and find help at AbsencesAddUp.org.
Please get the word out to friends, family, co-workers and others!
Facebook: 2 Absences Per Month = Less Likely to Read at Grade Level 2 absences per month = less likely to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. Visit http://absencesaddup.org/ to learn about what you can do to help kids succeed in school, and in life. #AbsencesAddUpp #MyBrothersKeeper
Twitter: 2 absences per month = less likely to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. #AbsencesAddUp AbsencesAddUp.org

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