Posted on June 10, 2016

Report: DPS Has Highest Rate of Chronic Absenteeism in U.S.

Jennifer C. Kerr et al., Detroit Free Press, June 9, 2016

The problem of students habitually missing school varies widely from state to state, with about one-third of students in the nation’s capital absent 15 days or more in a single school year, according to an Associated Press analysis of government statistics.

Of the 100 largest school districts by enrollment, Detroit had the highest rate of chronic absenteeism. Nearly 58 percent of students were chronically absent in the 2013-2014 school year.

At the other end of the spectrum, Florida had the lowest rate of chronic absenteeism, 4.5 percent in the 2013-14 school year.


Overall, the national average of chronic absenteeism was 13 percent, or about 6.5 million students, the Education Department said.


According to AP’s analysis, girls were just as likely as boys to habitually miss school. Nearly 22 percent of all American Indian students were reported as regularly absent, followed by Native Hawaiians at 21 percent and black students at 17 percent. Hispanic and white students were close to the national average of 13 percent.


As part of its Civil Rights Data Collection, the department surveyed all public schools in the country, covering over 95,000 schools and 50 million students. Roughly one in seven of all K-12 public schools nationwide reported having not a single chronically absent student that year.

Chronic absenteeism is one of several topics covered in the data collection. It also looked at school discipline and high-rigor course offerings.

Other figures from the report:

  • Black preschool children are 3.6 times as likely to get one or more out-of-school suspensions as their white counterparts.
  • Black children represent 19 percent of preschoolers, yet they account for 47 percent of preschool kids getting suspended.
  • White students make up 41 percent of preschoolers, and 28 percent of preschool kids with suspensions.
  • Nationwide, almost half of high schools offered classes in calculus, and more than three-quarters offered Algebra II.
  • 33 percent of high schools with substantial black and Latino enrollment offered calculus. That compares to 56 percent of high schools with low numbers of black and Latino children that offered calculus. Similar gaps were seen for physics, chemistry and Algebra II.