ANN ARBOR—Attendance is vital to academic success, studies show, but many children in Michigan are not making it to school.
According to a University of Michigan analysis, close to one out of every six children enrolled in the state’s public and charter schools were chronically absent in school year 2016-17, missing 10 percent or more school days.
“These rates are cause for alarm,” said Jennifer-Erb Downward, senior researcher at U-M’s Poverty Solutions. “We know chronically absent students are less likely to meet grade-level proficiency standards and are more likely to dropout.
“If we are going to improve our state’s education system, we need to figure out how to help kids get to school. The data show that to do that we have to address the impact of homelessness and poverty.”
Recommendations to improve chronic absenteeism include:
- Schools opting in to MiDataHub, a statewide initiative to improve the management and usability of school data.
- Adopting real-time attendance tracking tools at schools statewide.
- Using available data to identify and prioritize school districts with the greatest need.
- Ensuring that attendance programs and policies meet the needs of all students, including those experiencing housing and economic instability.