The Importance of Regular School Attendance

As an education reform expert, I believe regular school attendance plays a crucial role in a student‘s academic, social, and emotional development. While an occasional absence may be unavoidable, frequent or unjustified absences can negatively impact a child‘s education. Instead of providing recommendations on how to skip school, I think it‘s important we have an open discussion on the value of consistent attendance and how schools, families, and communities can support this.

The Impact of School Attendance

  • Students who attend school regularly have been shown to achieve higher grades and better test scores compared to students who miss more days of school.^[1]
  • Frequent absences in elementary school have been linked to lower academic performance in middle and high school.^[2]
  • Attending school consistently helps students build important social skills, relationships with peers and mentors, and a sense of community.
  • Schools receive critical funding based on student attendance numbers and rely on attendance data for planning.

Addressing Legitimate Absence Reasons

While students should aim to attend school daily, there are some unavoidable reasons that require missing school periodically:

  • Contagious Illness: Staying home when sick can help the child recover and prevent spreading illness.
  • Medical Appointments: Healthcare visits should be scheduled when possible outside school hours.
  • Family Emergency: Supporting family needs to take priority during crisis situations like illness, accident or loss of a loved one.

In these cases, communication with the school and making up missed work is important for minimizing academic disruption. Most schools have procedures in place to document and excuse legitimate absences.

Promoting Regular Attendance

Instead of providing tips on how to skip school, I think there are better ways that schools, families and communities can promote attendance:

  • Improving school climate and culture to make school enjoyable
  • Offering mental health support
  • Providing academic support programs for struggling students
  • Recognizing good and improved attendance
  • Partnering with families and community groups
  • Identifying and addressing barriers like transportation challenges

By making school attendance a priority and offering solutions-oriented support, we can ensure students show up consistently to benefit from all that school offers for their growth and preparation for bright futures.

  1. Ginsburg, Alan, Phyllis Jordan and Hedy Chang. "Absences Add Up: How School Attendance Influences Student Success." Attendance Works, August 2014
  2. Balfanz, Robert and Vaughan Byrnes. "Meeting the Challenge of Combating Chronic Absenteeism." Johns Hopkins School of Education, 2013

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