Students Across the U.S. Are Absent Much More than Before the Pandemic

Teacher Classroom
by Brandon Poulter


Nearly 70% of students attended schools that experienced chronic absenteeism during the 2021-2022 academic year, according to data compiled by Attendance Works and Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University.

Before the pandemic, 25% of students attended a school with high levels of chronic absenteeism, but during the 2021-2022 academic year at the percentage rose to 66%, according to the report from Attendance Works, a nonprofit focusing on absenteeism, and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, which focuses on high school graduation. Nearly 14.7 million students, or 29.7%, were chronically absent in the 2021-22 school year.

“Prior to the pandemic, going to school every day was still the norm,” Hedy Chang, the executive director of Attendance Works, told The New York Times.

States with the highest chronic absence rate in  2022 included Arizona, Alaska and Washington, D.C. at 46.3%, 45.80% and 43.9%, respectively, according to the report.

The states with the highest raw numbers of chronically absent students included California, Texas and Florida at 1,935,997, 1,498,353 and 984,334 respectively, according to the report. States with the lowest chronic absence rate in the 2021-2022 school year included Idaho, New Jersey and Washington state at 3.5%, 17.2% and 18.2%, respectively.

“It’s a little bit chicken and egg,” Chang told the NYT. “When you have extreme levels of chronic absence, it makes it harder to create meaningful relationships with kids. It also reflects the lack of meaningful relationships with kids.”

An analysis of preliminary data revealed, that in the 2022-2023 school year 11 states had a more than 2% decrease overall in chronic absence rates, according to Attendance Works.

Students who are chronically absent from class are suffering the most learning loss. K-12 reading scores had its largest drop following the pandemic, while math scores declined in 2022 for the first time.

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Brandon Poulter is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation. 





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