Missing school matters: Absences costing districts, students

AUSTIN (KXAN) — While a day home from school for students means cartoons on the couch, it is costing school districts money.

Dr. Richard Reddick, Associate Professor with the Department of Education at the University of Texas at Austin, joined us in the KXAN studio to discuss this issue.

“We have over 2.3 million absences in our region, and at $38 a day, those absences add up in total cost to our districts,” said Reddick. “But it’s more than money. It’s about the relationships.”

Reddick says one strong indicator of persistence and success in school for students is having a caring adult there.

“If students are not in school, they can’t develop those relationships with adults,” says Reddick. “If they miss school, they miss out.”

Students benefit from developing mutually supporting relationships with their peers to sustain them through challenging times. Starting in middle school, peer pressure and group identity becomes important to students. Reddick says a correlation has been found between absences and middle school peer pressure, which is a pattern that is taken to high school.

Parents, teachers, and students will gather for a Fall 2016 rally on Sept. 7, 9, 10 on the terrace of the Long Center.

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