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Covington Superintendent Addresses Absenteeism in Editorial

Superintendent of Covington Independent Public Schools Lynda Jackson penned an op-ed in the Cincinnati Enquirer about chronic absenteeism and its effect on student achievement:
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Last year, 94 percent of Covington Independent Public Schools students showed up for school every day on average. Hidden behind that impressive figure, though, are pockets of absenteeism that can stall academic progress and exacerbate achievement gaps.

Even in these early days of the new school year, some students as young as kindergarten already are heading toward academic trouble because they’re missing too much school. Research and experience show that missing 10 percent of school days –or 18 days a year – correlates with lower test scores and higher dropout rates. Eighteen days is just two days a month over the course of the school year, and that can happen before parents or teachers realize it.

About 11 percent of Covington’s kindergartners missed that much school last year, on par with the national average. In two elementary schools, 15 percent or more were chronically absent. If we let students continue on this path, they can miss the equivalent of a half year of school by the time they finish third grade.

Not surprisingly, these are the children who are not reading on grade-level at that critical juncture and not able to handle the more complex texts required in later grades. They are also more likely to be chronically absent in later years, since they never developed good attendance habits.

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Full story: Cincinnati Enquirer