In Kern County, more than 12 percent of all students in grades K through 12 miss 18 or more days of school — that is equal to more than 24,000 students across the county, said Mary Barlow, Kern County Superintendent of Schools. Those stats make Kern County students chronically absent at a higher rate than the California average.
“Simply put, good attendance is one of the most important factors in determining a student’s success in school, and ultimately in life,” Barlow said. “When children aren’t in their seats, they simply do not have an opportunity to learn. When they are not learning, they fall further and further behind as the years go by.”
Consider these facts:
- 83 percent of students chronically absent in kindergarten and first grade cannot read on-level by third grade.
- By 7th grade, chronic absence becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school.
- High school drops outs are less likely to qualify for gainful employment and are more likely to be incarcerated and on public assistance programs.
“We also need to be more deliberate in engaging parents and stakeholders regarding the importance of attendance for student growth and development,” Barlow said. “