Weingarten Speech Tying School Choice to Racism Sets Off Firestorm

House Committee Rejects Democrats’ Bid to Restore Education Funding, Protect Teacher Training

How’s This for a Yarn? School Bus Driver Crochets a Personalized Toy for Every Student on Her Route

A Phoenix Breakthrough: How 3 Massachusetts High Schools Are Helping Dropouts Become College-Bound Grads

Teacher Groups Frustrated With California ESSA Plan’s ‘Loose’ Definition of Ineffective Teachers

The 74 Interview: You Don’t Think Your Child Is Average & Harvard’s Todd Rose Doesn’t Either

Interactive: How Far Every State Has Gone to Update Education Policies Under the Every Student Succeeds Act

House Republicans Warn Education Dept. on ESSA Overreach as Democrats Lament Lack of Accountability Rules

More Attention to ELLs, Student Suspension, Fewer Test Days: NY Tweaks Its ESSA Plan

WATCH: These 100 HS Grads Made a Splash With Pomp, Circumstance — and a Jump in the Lake

12 Rhode Island Schools Vie for Chance to Become Their State’s 3 Personalized Learning Labs

Teacher Raises, Bathrooms, Vouchers: Texas Lawmakers Take Up Big School Fights in Special Legislative Session

Investigation: Forced Into Unneeded Remedial Classes, Some Community College Students Fail to Finish Degrees

A Summer Education Meltdown: Why Everyone in DC Is Mad About ESSA, Congress, Charters, Choice — or All of the Above

This Week’s ESSA News: Science Test Debate, a Career Readiness Blind Spot, and Massachusetts Has Work to Do

House Subcommittee Advances Education Funding Bill as Democrats Protest ‘Anti-Teacher’ Cuts

DeVos Hears of Sex Attacks at Colleges & K-12 Schools as Feds Weigh Changes to Title IX Evidence Rules

The $1,488 Back-to-School Bill: Backpack Index Tracks Rising Costs of Supplies, Fees for Band, Sports, Trips

House Committee Considers Education Spending Bill That Trims Trump’s Cuts, Drops Funding for Private Choice

Turning Red: New Jersey’s Well-Heeled Teachers Union Backs Trump Supporter Over State’s Top Democrat

New York Targets Chronic Absenteeism in Its ESSA Plan: 4 Things Research Shows About Attendance

May 9, 2017

Talking Points

New York targets chronic absenteeism in its ESSA plan: 4 things research shows about attendance

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

As Chalkbeat and The Wall Street Journal covered in detail Monday, New York is the latest state to unveil its new education policy, designed to align with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.
“There are practical constraints that make aspects of this plan similar to its predecessor, No Child Left Behind — most importantly that student achievement is still a prominent feature,” reports Chalkbeat’s Monica Disare. “But there are also key differences that state officials argue mark a real shift, including a stronger emphasis on student growth and college, career and civic readiness.”
One notable non-testing measure being considered for New York schools is chronic absenteeism — typically defined as elementary or middle school students missing 10 percent or more of their enrolled school days.
Of the 15 states that have already submitted their plans for school accountability under ESSA (in addition to Washington, D.C.), Education Week reports that at least 10 have prioritized chronic absenteeism as a key indicator of school quality.
As The 74 reported in February, many experts and researchers see chronic absenteeism as both a reliable and valuable measure — easily tracked, difficult to manipulate — of school climate. Here are four things research shows about chronic absenteeism: 
Photo: The Hamilton Project


  • Unlike other school climate measures, which typically involve surveys that could easily be skewed or manipulated, proponents of accountability see attendance as a less fudgable measure. After all, attendance is much more objective — either students are in school or they’re not.
  • Some experts caution that chronic absenteeism may be correlated with factors out of schools’ control, penalizing them for taking in students in poverty, for example. Using a metric correlated with poverty could have a number of unintended consequences, such as identifying the wrong schools for sanction or dissuading teachers from working with the neediest students. On the other hand, targeting additional resources and support for disadvantaged schools may be especially helpful.

Read Matt Barnum’s full report — “Hard to Game, Easy to Use: Chronic Absenteeism Gains Ground as New ESSA Measure of Student Success