EdChoice Polling Sheds Light on Rising Absenteeism  

Even though most people are adjusting to life post-pandemic, one group hasn’t entirely recovered: students.

Many K–12 students are still staying home at alarming levels, and EdChoice polling sheds light on which students are missing the most school and why. According to a recent op-ed authored by EdChoice Research Associate Colyn Ritter, the percentage by which students have been absent is at an all-time high.

Historically, students from low-income families or those with learning disabilities were more likely to be absent. But today, absenteeism has become common among the previous minority as well as the LGBTQ community.

“When surveyed in August, an alarming 19% of teens self-reported missing more than 15 whole days of school,” Ritter explains in the op-ed, published in news outlets nationwide. “But, among Black teens, as well as those from the LGBTQ community, 25% reported missing more than 15 whole days of school in the past school year”.

According to EdChoice’s biannual survey of teens, mental health issues have prompted many students to skip school. More specifically, anxiety was stated as one of the top reasons for these absences.

“According to a recent student survey from the EdWeek Research Center, 16% of students who were absent for at least one day in the past year (for reasons other than physical illness) said they didn’t attend because of anxiety,” Ritter says in the piece.

The findings show that more than half of students do not feel supported by their school when it comes to mental health.

Ritter emphasizes the need for more studies and research analysis on which groups are repeatedly absent and stresses the importance of understanding chronic absenteeism to solve it long term.

“There is no world where the proper academic recovery can begin without a serious understanding of, and proactive approach to curbing, chronic absenteeism”.

To read the full op-ed, click here.