KXAN Educates: Absences

Each year, Central Texas students miss 2.4 million days of school; A fifth of all students in Central Texas miss more than 2 weeks of school each year.

When students are absent, they not only miss out on instructional time but also miss out on opportunities to grow relationships and develop habits needed for higher education and success in the workforce.

Students aren’t the only ones losing out over absenteeism; school districts lose money for each day a student isn’t in class.

According to the E3 Alliance, school districts lose $38 in state funding per student for each absence. An E3 analysis of absences in 2012 found that school districts lose about $20,000 per week because of absences. Central Texas schools as a whole lose more than $90 million per year due to absences.

Decreasing absences by just 3 days per student each year can inject $34 million back into Central Texas schools.

Why are students missing class?

A 2015 study of school data on absences by E3 Alliance found that illnesses such as cold or flu made up 48 percent of all absences in Central Texas. Skipping, chronic illness and family emergencies were the next most common cause of absences.

The analysis showed that absenteeism increases after 5th Grade, when students transition out of the familiar setting of elementary school into intermediate and/or middle schools.

absenteeism

High school seniors had more absences on average than any other grade. In fact, E3 found High School students with more than 10 absences made up nearly 70 percent of Central Texas absences.

 

Tips for parents

Because nearly half of all absences are related to illness, parents can contribute a great deal to keeping their students in school. The E3 Alliance recommends:

  • Stay Healthy – Make sure everyone in your family gets a flu shot
  • Don’t make others sick – Keep your child home for at least 24 hours if they have a fever of 100 degrees or higher, has vomited more than once or has diarrhea or has flu-like symptoms
  • Appointment times matter – Schedule routine doctor and dental appointment times when they have the least chance of disrupting school

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