Nearly 17 percent of students in Washington are chronically absent from school, meaning that each misses at least 18 days of instruction. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how seriously that could hinder learning.
A new national report analyzing attendance rates across the country goes even further, noting that in 28 percent of Washington schools almost a third of all students are missing weeks of classwork, a rate that ranks as second-worst in the nation, after Alaska.
And when large numbers of students miss lessons, it affects more than their own performance because high levels of “churn” make it “almost impossible for even a very good teacher to figure out how to move forward,” said Hedy Chang, executive director of the national nonprofit Attendance Works.
This is particularly true for science labs and other lessons that span more than one day.
“In Washington, that is quite a challenge,” Chang said.
The numbers come from a national report, “Portraits of Change.” Attendance Works released the findings last week after analyzing federal data from the 2013-14 school year, the most recent full set available.