ON EDUCATION: "Be There or Be Square! The importance of Attendance." Article...
One of the Principals I used to work with used to repeatedly say to all teachers, "Half of any job is showing up." I initially found that underwhelming as I thought it was far more important to have impact when present. I came to agree with him- Woody Allen said, it's 75% of any job!That Principal was also an amazingly wonderful man to work with in terms of modeling both physical presence and transformational impacton learning for all.
He also regularly said, "If it's going to be, let it be me." He lived his words and made great things happen for all kids.
Here is some relevant research on attendance you may not have seen sincenew attendance measures are now wrapped into the accountability measures for each of our schools. A startling Massachusetts-based article is Josh Goodman’s.
- AttendanceWorks, a national nonprofit focused on reducing chronic absenteeism: https://www.
- A summary they put together of research on attendance: htt
ps://awareness. attendanceworks.org/wp- content/uploads/Research2016.
- Ten facts about school attendance: https://
www.attendanceworks.org/ chronic-absence/the-problem/ 10-facts-about-school- attendance/
- “In Defense of Snow Days” by Josh Goodman https://www.
- This study features data from Massachusetts and shows that “each one-day increase in the student absence rate driven by bad weather reduces math achievement by up to 5 percent of a standard deviation, suggesting that differences in average student attendance may account for as much as one-quarter of the income-based achievement gap in the state. Conversely, instructional time lost to weather-related school closings has no impact on student test scores.”
- Basically, the idea is: When schools close entirely because of bad weather, it doesn’t affect test scores. But when it’s one of those days where the weather is bad but schools don’t close, a lot of kids still miss the day because they can’t get to school for whatever reason—and you can see the impact on their test scores later on.
- While this is just one source/reason for student absences, it’s a clever one to look at in terms of figuring out how much student attendance matters. Unlike many of the other reasons why kids miss school (such as illness, lack of access to transportation, parent work schedules, etc.), snow days essentially happen at random. So you don’t have to worry that some other thing you didn’t account for caused both the illness or transportation problem AND the reduced attendance in school.