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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Teacher and Student Chronic Absenteeism

The National Education Association said that a study released today detailing chronic absenteeism among 16 percent of educators doesn’t go far enough.

National Council on Teacher Quality’s study found that these teachers were responsible for more than a third of all absences during the 2012-13 school year and should be targeted for attendance interventions.
“The NCTQ study on teacher absences raises important questions, but unfortunately, the study provides insufficient data or evidence about the extent of the problem or any real, long-term solutions,” said Segun Eubanks, NEA’s director of teacher quality. “The report is a ‘one shot’ look at the data over one year, but in order to really inform this issue we need data on ‘chronically’ absent teachers from a number of years. We know that there are numerous factors influencing teacher attendance which must be explored. For example, teachers and those who have longer commutes tend to be absent more often, as are those with middle ranges of experience.”

Eubanks notes that school environment also plays a role. Elementary schools, larger schools and schools with high rates of poverty tend to see more absences. Absences can sometimes be attributed to professional development, as well. And the report doesn’t address the quality and use of substitute teachers, Eubanks said.

“A few states set high standards for substitute teaching — but most do not,” Eubanks said. “Requirements vary greatly from district to district, although some may require significantly higher credentials than a state’s meager guidelines, which may require only that substitutes be at least 18 years of age and have the equivalent of a high school diploma.”

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