School Attendance Myths…Busted!

Family Engagement & Organizing, Attendance | 10/07/2016

Donna Hardy
Organizer

Donna recruits, trains, and organizes parents to become advocates and powerful voices for their children.

Every morning, teachers across Illinois take attendance. Whether or not a student responds, “here” helps determine his or her long-term academic success.

Attendance is critical to keeping our children on track to graduation. Because it plays such a large role in students’ success, we’re taking five school attendance myths and busting them!

1. “Students don’t start missing a lot of school until Middle or High School.”

BUSTED: One in 10 Kindergarten and first graders miss at least a month of school every year. Bad habits that lead to skipping school can be picked up in the early years – be sure to learn good ones and stick with them.

2. “Absences in the early grades don’t really affect academics.”

BUSTED: Chronically absent Kindergarteners demonstrated lower academic performance than their peers once they got to first grade. For many low-income children, the poor performance persisted through fifth grade. In Chicago, poor attendance in ninth grade was a better predictor of dropping out than eighth grade test scores.

3. “Most schools already know how many students are chronically absent.”

BUSTED: Most schools measure schoolwide attendance or track unexcused absences. Those figures do not capture everything that goes on with individual students. Often, chronic absenteeism is tied to poverty. Understanding these patterns can lead to solutions if we examine the numbers.

4. “There’s not much that schools can do to improve attendance; it’s up to the parents.”

BUSTED: Parents are essential, but schools can make a real difference by partnering with community groups and making changes to offer solutions that reflect particular challenges.

5. “There’s nothing I can do to make sure my child is getting the most out of his or her education.”

BUSTED: There are proven steps that you can take to put your child on track to a bright future. Take the pledge to play an important role in your child’s academic success.

More info on these myths can be found at Attendance Works.

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