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School Performance Reports: Poorer Districts Have Higher Absenteeism

As many as 50 percent of students in some urban schools miss classes at least 10 days out of 180-day school year

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It’s just one statistic in the state’s School Performance Reports, but it’s so important, because there’s so much at stake:

It’s the percentage of students who are chronically absent from school.

The state requires schools to report daily attendance. Students who miss 10 or more days – out of the minimum of 180 days required by the state – are deemed chronically absent.

On average, statewide, 6 percent of students were chronically absent at any given school on a typical day in the 2013-14 school year.

But the range of absentee rates is enormous. Nearly 100 schools reported virtually no absenteeism, but the other end of the scale is striking, mostly in the state’s poorest cities.

For example, more than one-third of the students at the Grove Street School in Irvington and the Bonsall Family School in Camden missed at least 10 days of school last year. That absentee number was close to 50 percent of students at the Camden Community Charter School and the Hedgepeth Middle School in Trenton.

Editor’s note: Each day this week, NJ Spotlight will highlight one set of data from the state’s School Performance Reports.

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