Children missing too much school has been called a “hidden educational crisis” by the U.S. Department of Education.
Its 2015 nationwide report states more than 6 million students missed 15 or more days of school in 2013-2014.
That’s about 14 percent of the nation’s student population, or about one in seven students.
Nationally, American Indian and Pacific Islander children struggle the most with attendance, followed in order by children of mixed races, then black, Hispanic and white students.
In Washington, American Indian, Alaskan native and homeless students have the highest rates at 33 percent. Pacific Islanders are at 27 percent, and low-income kids are at 22 percent.
Nationally, Asian students missed the least days of school, just seven percent of about 166,000 students.
The report points out one notable trend: English learners, who face significant barriers in school and society, are 1.2 times less likely to be chronically absent than students who speak English.
The same is not true for students with disabilities, who are almost 1.5 times more likely to be chronically absent than students without. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is intended to ensure all students with disabilities have access to a free, appropriate education yet chronic absenteeism gets in the way of that goal.
Girls are as likely as boys to be chronically absent, at a rate of about 14 percent for both sexes.
Experts agree the problem is widespread, resulting in about 98 million school days lost in 2013-14, according to the federal report. For more details, the Department of Education’s report is at ubne.ws/2vuktT5.