Study: 6.5 Million Students Chronically Absent in 2013-2014

Chronically absent students are far more likely to fall behind in school and drop out.

More than one in ten students were chronically absent in the 2013-2014 school year according to data released recently by the Department of Education.

The study, which also analyzed student discipline and suspensions, represents the department’s first look at student absenteeism data, according to CBS News.

“One of the very worrying data points is that 13 percent of all students are chronically absent,” Education Secretary John B. King Jr. said in an interview with The AP. “Even the best teacher can’t be successful with a student who’s not in school.”

The department defines chronic absenteeism as missing three full weeks of school in one year.

In high school, chronic absenteeism rates were far higher, reaching one in five students in the school year analyzed. There was a similar rate for black and Latino students across grades K-12.

RELATED: NYC School Safety Agents Union Accuses City of Deflating School Crime Stats

School suspensions dropped 20 percent from a similar study’s report two years ago, but black preschool children were found to be 3.6 times more likely than white preschool children to be suspended.

Responding to the racial disparity, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon urged schools across the country to follow the lead of Chicago and Baltimore, which have dramatically reduced the amount of suspensions given out in early education.

The report also found that 1.6 million students attend school with a sworn law enforcement officer, but not a school counselor.

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