The Realities of K-12 Chronic Absenteeism

ARE THE KIDS ALRIGHT? All the technology that schools are buying to help students won't make a difference if the kids aren't coming to school. According to data recently released by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, 6.5 million—or 13%—of all U.S. students were absent from school for 15 or more days during 2013-14. This number increases in high school, when 18% of all high school students are listed as chronically absent. 

The report also highlights other troubling trends, including those related to school discipline: black preschool children are 3.6 times as likely to "receive one or more out-of-school suspensions" as white preschool children, while students with disabilities are are more than twice as likely to receive "one or more out-of-school suspensions" as students without disabilities.

There may be, however, some space for products to play a bigger role in addressing some of the issues illuminated in the report. For example, higher-level online digital courses may help address the disparities of rigorous curriculum, as the report shares that only 48% of high schools offer calculus.

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