Chronic absenteeism hits 40% in NYC public schools

by sam

Samuel Case, FISM News 


Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, absenteeism is running rampant in New York City public schools, with a New York Post exclusive report revealing that chronic absenteeism has risen to 40%. Chronic absenteeism is defined by New York as a student missing at least 18 days of school for any reason. 

According to the Post, that percentage roughly translates to 375,000 students out of the 938,000 enrolled in NYC’s schools and it may be even higher considering that students out with COVID or in quarantine are marked present when logged in to the classroom from home. 

New York City Mayor Eric Adams in January was considering a remote option for students amid the Omicron surge saying, “We do have to be honest. There’s a substantial number of children for, whatever reason, parents are not bringing them to school.”  

The 40% absentee rate is a dramatic increase from the 2018-2019 school year when chronic absenteeism was at 26%. The Post reports that the NYC Department of Education has not provided chronic absenteeism data for the last two years.

Meanwhile other major cities are suffering from chronic absenteeism as well. According to data received by the LA Times, 46% of Los Angeles students are missing class at similar rates, compared to 19% two years before. The percentages are even higher among certain demographics, with the Times reporting: “For Black students the chronic absence rate is nearly 57%. For Latinos, it is 49%. For homeless students it is 68%.”

NYC Department of Education spokesman Nathaniel Styer said the DOE is “laser focused on ensuring every student attends school every day. This includes proactively identifying students who are at risk and taking steps to prevent chronic absenteeism.” Styer added that the DOE expects “each superintendent to make this a priority and to provide every student facing attendance barriers with the support they and their family need to end the year strong.”