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Chronic absenteeism is changing K-12 education

A teacher interacts with students virtually while sitting in an empty classroom at Hazelwood Elementary School in Louisville, Kentucky.
A teacher interacts with students virtually while sitting in an empty classroom at Hazelwood Elementary School in Louisville, Kentucky.

In the years since COVID-19 forced schools to move instruction online, we’ve seen a renewed effort to get kids back into the classroom.

But millions of children are not showing up to school consistently.

The issue – known as chronic absenteeism – has doubled since before the pandemic.

Now, more than 14 million kids are chronically absent, according to education advocacy nonprofit Attendance Works. That means they’ve missed at least 10 percent of their school year – approximately 18 days.

And this is happening as schools grapple with the lowest reading and math test scores in decades.

We convene a panel of experts to explain this trend and tell us what’s a stake if we don’t get kids back to class.

Copyright 2024 WAMU 88.5

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Lauren Hamilton