Chronic Absenteeism Puts Students at Risk of Failing in School

When Woody Allen famously said that “80% of success is just showing up,” he wasn’t talking about school. But according to some fascinating new research, Woody hit pretty close to the truth. (Actually, the math works out to be a little closer to 90%; more on that below.)

Around the country, there are around 180 school days in a typical academic year. And a child who misses just 18 days of school in the year—two days per month—is considered to be “chronically absent,” even if those absences are excused or understandable.

New research released by the Ad Council, shows that an overwhelming majority (86%) of parents understand their child’s school attendance plays a significant role in helping them succeed in graduating from high school. However, nearly half (49%) of parents believe it is okay for their child to miss three or more days of school – and that they won’t fall behind academically if they do.

chronic-absence-leads-to-falling-behind-in-schoolUnfortunately, they’re wrong. Children who are chronically absent in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade are less likely to read on grade level by the third grade. And students who can’t read at grade level by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

How big a problem is this? In a word, huge. In the US, more than 6 million children are chronically absent from school each year.

For more info, visit and watch the video below:

Here’s How You Can Help


  • Keep track of how many days of school your child has missed.
  • Figure out why your child is absent from school.
  • Is he or she dealing with a chronic illness like asthma?
  • Is he or she being bullied or struggling at school?
  • Is he or she staying home to help care for a family member?
  • Visit to find help addressing the underlying cause of your child’s absences.
  • Ask teachers and community leaders for advice and specific resources in your area.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to other parents in your area to ask for help and share tips.
  • To prevent absences in the future, consider enrolling your child in a mentoring or afterschool program.
  • Understand the impact of each absence on your child’s future.
  • A student is chronically absent even if he or she misses only two days of school each month (18 days per year), whether the absences are excused or unexcused.
  • Chronic absenteeism can affect students as early as elementary school.
  • Children who are chronically absent in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade are much less likely to read on grade level by third grade.
  • Students who cannot read at grade level by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

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Author: Armin Brott

Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men’s health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media:, @mrdad,,,

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