Our world is changing. How many times a week do we hear that? How many times a day might one hear it. Over the years, and even while my own boys were growing up and in school, I started noticing that kids are more and more staying out of school for things I would have never got away with as a child. I can remember my parents were stern believers of being in school and unless we had high fevers or injured we were going to school. There was no room for argument with my parents. It’s just how it was when I was younger. School was important and it came first. And if you actually were sick enough to stay out of school, you stayed in your room all day. If you didn’t go to school you didn’t get to do anything. That meant no sports, no friends, nothing.
I recently read a report regarding the effects of staying out of school has on students. According the report put out by the Robert Woods Johnson foundation (http://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2016/09/the-relationship-between-school-attendance-and-health.html) chronic absenteeism is becoming a major concern. This report defines chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 15 days or more of school. I couldn’t locate where they got all of their data but it does list some very good, and important reasons why your child should be getting that end of the school award for 100% attendance.
- Chronically absent from GK-1 can cause reading levels to be behind by third grade which results in 4X the HS drop out rate later in school.
- 10% of Kindergartners are chronically absent
- Chronically absent students have higher rates of health issues later in adulthood
- The percentage of chronically absent students is higher among lower income students and minorities.
- Students who were chronically absent any year between 8th grade and 12th grade are more likely to drop out.
- On average a college graduate will live 9 years longer than a high school graduate.
What I’m seeing now, and in the past 20 years is for students to be out of school for various reasons. I’m not writing this to start a debate about why parents should be allowed to take their children out of school if they want too. You’re the parent. You do what you feel will benefit your child in the long run. If your school feels that taking the day off to attend a parade to honor school athletes is Okay, then go with it! If you feel that taking a few days off for a much needed vacation to Disney is benefiting your child and family, then again, it’s your decision. You are the parent!
Some of the reasons the report listed that students are chronically out of school:
- Physical health; could be student, could be other family member
- Mental health; could be student, could be other family member
- Safety concerns. We are lucky to live in a pretty safe community but others are not so lucky
- Social factors such as hunger, housing, transportation
But, if your child isn’t getting to school because you didn’t feel like getting up in the morning, or you all stayed up too late watching TV the night before, then maybe you might need to read this report.