Report: Chronic absenteeism impacts 34% of Arizona K-8 students

Report: Chronic absenteeism impacts 34% of Arizona K-8 students
Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 12:29 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Before the COVID-19 pandemic, data showed that about 12% to 14% of Arizona students were chronically absent; that number has more than doubled to about 34%.

Educators are concerned as kids head back to school because it’s tough to catch up once they get behind. Chronic absenteeism is not just kids skipping school. Usually, it’s related to various factors within the home that impact the child’s ability to go to or stay in school.

“You might see people move from place to place, so they are missing a lot more school. They may have to help out and babysit or work jobs. So, there isn’t kind of one description of why it’s happening. There are multiple reasons why it’s happening. Once you start being chronically absent, it really limits your opportunities, and that is what we are most worried about as people head back to school,” explained Dr. Paul Perrault with the Helios Education Foundation. “Once you fall off track, you start missing more and more school, your grades might suffer, and you might drop out of school.”

As kids head back to school, the Helios Education Foundation says they want parents to know how detrimental missing too much school can be.

“Chronic absenteeism rates were about 12-14 percent before the pandemic. Meaning 12-14 percent of the kids at our schools were missing 18 days. Well, after the pandemic and during the pandemic, it ballooned. At the end of 2021, more than 22% of kids were missing school or were chronically absent,” said Perrault.

42% of all chronically absent children are low-income. In addition, Native American and Hispanic students were more likely to be affected. To learn more, click/tap here.

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