Student attendance is important because it is very closely correlated with student achievement, and it is the way schools are reimbursed by the state, so every day a student is absent that school loses funding.
Absenteeism is highest in the high school years, and it is very predictive of student success. In fact, a student who is absent 10 or more days in 9th grade is three times more likely to not graduate on time as one who is absent five or fewer days.
Unfortunately, student absences are also very closely associated with family income. Recent E3 Alliance data show that it’s our poorest students who are most likely to miss school, and thus be at risk for poor academic outcomes. In Central Texas, data show that students who are eligible for reduced price lunches because their family makes less than 185% of the federal poverty level have almost the same attendance patterns as those who are not low income. However, those students eligible for free lunch, whose families make less than 135% of the federal policy level, have almost 50% more absences, averaging 9 days missed every year in high school.