Just before schools reopened last week, the city Department of Education reported that chronic absenteeism hit 36.2% last school year — meaning that hundreds of thousands of kids missed at least 10% of the 180-day school year.
It was a slight improvement from the year before when citywide DOE-school chronic absenteeism hit a staggering 40%.
Worse, more than 55% of high school seniors missed at least 18 days of school in the 2021-2022 year.
Getting the rate down to “just” 36% is still a failure, a clear sign the disaster will continue until and unless Chancellor David Banks lights a fire under the entire school bureaucracy to get serious about change.
Chronic absenteeism makes it impossible to learn and leads to dropping out, delinquency, and wasted lives.
The problem grew nationwide in the wake of the pandemic — not just because of school closures, but because parents (lower-income ones, especially) fell prey to overwrought COVID fears.
But the city’s rate far exceeds the national chronic absenteeism of roughly 25%, as reported by the Associated Press.