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ERIC Number: EJ813120
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Oct-1
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0277-4232
Absences in Early Grades Tied to Learning Lags
Jacobson, Linda
Education Week, v28 n6 p1, 12 Oct 2008
When Thomas B. Lockamy became the superintendent of the Savannah-Chatham County school system in Georgia three years ago, he did not set out to go after students who were missing too much school. While his initial focus was the reliability of data being collected at district schools, those concerns soon exposed a pattern of chronic absenteeism among some young elementary students living in high-poverty neighborhoods. Having solid data became the first step in addressing what a new report identifies as an underrecognized problem: chronic absenteeism in the primary grades. The report, "Present, Engaged, and Accounted For," from the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), at Columbia University, says common sense and research suggest that being in school consistently is important to ensuring children gain a strong foundation for subsequent learning. The analysis--which found a positive relationship between chronic absenteeism and low educational achievement--joins a small but growing body of research on absenteeism in the early grades, an issue that experts say is often eclipsed by concerns about truancy among older students. Among the many reasons to focus on this largely "overlooked" issue, the report's authors suggest, is that improving early-grades attendance can help schools meet their achievement goals under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The NCCP report also calls for expanding high-quality preschool programs, saying they "play an invaluable role in reducing chronic absence by orienting families to school norms and helping families make regular school attendance part of their daily routine."
Editorial Projects in Education. 6935 Arlington Road Suite 100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5233. Tel: 800-346-1834; Tel: 301-280-3100; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001