A student who misses just two days of school each month — 18 days total in the year — is considered to be chronically absent. However, many parents don’t realize that, even when absences are excused or understandable, absences add up and can greatly impact a child’s education. In the United States, more than 6 million children are chronically absent from school each year.
We all know things happen, kids get sick, last minute vacations, deaths in the family – I could go on. But that isn’t really what we are talking about here. For most of us, we are very blessed in the fact that we have the tools, resources, and wherewithal to make sure our kids do not fall behind if they do have to miss school. Chronic absenteeism is more than that. There are MILLIONS of children all over the United States who are missing school due to struggling in the classroom, having trouble with bullies, or dealing with challenges at home. These are the students who are falling behind and struggling to graduate later in life.
To combat chronic absenteeism, the U.S. Department of Education, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the Ad Council have partnered to create the public service campaign Absences Add Up. Absences Add Up is part of the My Brother’s Keeper Every Student, Every Day initiative, a broad effort to combat chronic absenteeism led by the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Justice.
The Absences Add Up campaign directs parents and community members to AbsencesAddUp.org, where they can find information about the importance of school attendance and resources to learn how to help children who are struggling in school, being bullied, managing chronic illness, or addressing mental health challenges. The site also provides parents with resources to assist with caregiving, housing and food challenges. For teachers, community leaders, after school programs, and mentoring partners, there is information about how to encourage school attendance and resources to help address issues like poor grades, bullying, and family challenges that cause children to miss school when they don’t have to.
Tips and Suggestions
- Keep track of how many days of school your child has missed.
- Figure out why your child is absent from school.
- Are they dealing with a chronic illness like asthma?
- Are they being bullied or struggling at school?
- Are they staying home to help care for a family member?
- Visit AbsencesAddUp.org to find help addressing the underlying cause of your child’s absences.
- Ask teachers and community leaders for advice and specific resources in your area.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to other parents in your area to ask for help and share tips.
- To prevent absences in the future, consider enrolling your child in a mentoring or afterschool program.
- Understand the impact of each absence on your child’s future.
- A student is chronically absent even if they miss only two days of school each month (18 days per year), whether the absences are excused or unexcused.
- Chronic absenteeism can affect students as early as elementary school.
- Children who are chronically absent in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade are much less likely to read on grade level by third grade.
- Students who cannot read at grade level by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.
HELP US SHOW PARENTS HOW TO HELP THEIR KIDS! Spread the word on Social Media.
- 12 family emergency days + 6 vacation days = risk of not making it to graduation day. Visit AbsencesAddUp.org today. #AbsencesAddUp
- 2 absences per month = less likely to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. #AbsencesAddUp AbsencesAddUp.org
- Every Child Deserves A Chance! Attending school every day increases a child’s chances of success in school and in life. That’s why I support the U. S. Department of Education, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, My Brother’s Keeper, and the Ad Council’s #AbsencesAddUp campaign—because every child deserves a chance at success. http://absencesaddup.org/ #EveryStudentEveryDay #MyBrothersKeeper