Despite common misconceptions, most parents care about their children’s educational success but often don’t understand the negative consequences of missing school.
The survey found that many parents do not fully understand the link between good attendance in elementary school and their children’s later educational success. Often parents say they do not know how many days their children are missing, or report they do not hear from the school when their child’s absences reach a chronic level.
Nationally, efforts by groups such as Attendance Works, are underway to address chronic absenteeism, defined as excused and unexcused absences as well as suspensions, that add up to 10 percent or more of the school year, or 18 days.
Regionally, through the efforts of Bridging Richmond, school division leaders are working toward adopting a standard definition and way of tracking chronic absenteeism, as well as coming up with innovative strategies for improving attendance, such as text messaging parents. Findings from the California survey will be useful to our local efforts to engage with and educate parents about the negative consequences of missing school.