by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
According to Attendance Works, chronic absenteeism is on the rise, though data collection challenges remain. The U.S. Department of Education defines chronic absenteeism as missing 15 or more days during a school year. As one would expect, chronic absenteeism impedes learning.
The Hamilton Project, a program within the Brookings Institution, created a map of chronic absentee rates for each school district in the country. North Carolina’s chronic absentee rate of 14.8 percent is slightly lower than the national average of 15.5 percent. That said, some of North Carolina’s school districts have chronic absentee rates that exceed 20 percent.