University fights low school attendance

By ABBY BIESMAN
News & Features Editor

Hopkins researchers are partaking in an initiative led by United States President Barack Obama to minimize absenteeism in public schools. The initiative is called “Every Student, Every Day.”

The initiative is designed to lower absenteeism annually by 10 percent or more. Absenteeism occurs when a student misses 18 or more school days in an academic year.

Robert Balfanz, a professor at the Center for the Social Organization of Schools at the Johns Hopkins School of Education estimates that five to 7.5 million students fall into this category.

“When we first started our work, the scale and scope of chronic absenteeism was not widely known nor understood,” Balfanz said. “So it’s heartening to see that today a federal interagency effort to reduce chronic absenteeism has been launched. Chronic absenteeism is an issue that once we know about and understand it, we can do a lot to reduce it.”

According the U.S. Department of Education’s website, early absenteeism leads to lower reading levels, which in turn lead to increased chances of dropping out.

On Nov. 12, Hopkins’ Everyone Graduates Center will collaborate with the Department of Education to host a summit entitled “Every Student, Every Day: A Virtual Summit on Addressing and Eliminating Chronic Absence.”

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