Chronic Absenteeism Rates in California Schools Are Improving 

Tanu Henry, Antonio Ray Harvey and Joe W. Bowers Jr. | California Black Media 

      Last week, the California Department of Education (CDE), officially released its assessment of student absenteeism in the context of the state’s recovery effort from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

      All student groups showed improved chronic absenteeism rates, with the largest declines demonstrated by American Indian or Alaska Native, Hispanic or Latino, Pacific Islander, and African American students.

       The chronic absenteeism rate measures the number of students who missed 10% of the days they were expected to attend for any reason.

      In addition, the average number of days absent decreased to 14.6 from a high of 16.7 in the 2021–22 school year. The total Chronic Absenteeism Eligible Enrollment was 301,921.  

      African American students accounted for 110,537 or 36.6%. 

      The results include data for the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) and the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC). 

      Compared with other states that have released chronic absenteeism data for the 2022–23 school year. California’s current rate is lower than states including Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, and Ohio. 

      “These results suggest that California’s public schools are beginning to turn the corner on pandemic recovery, with gains on most assessments and a substantial reduction in chronic absenteeism, especially for our most vulnerable groups of students,” California State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond said in a statement. 

      “Our Governor and Legislature have substantially increased funding for schools to enable educators to invest in effective strategies like high-dose tutoring, after school and summer learning, mental health supports, and universal preschool to accelerate learning and engage students,” Darling-Hammond added. 

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