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Chronic absenteeism among kindergarten students

Essential Question:
What are the effects of kindergarteners' Chronic Absenteeism on academics as they progress through school? And what are some of the obstacles to their attendance?

Schools can not teach students who are not there. Understanding the degree and nature of low attendance among the youngest students, as well as what they have in common, gives us insight into possible ways of mitigating both the absenteeism and its deleterious effects.

Introduction

A common assumption is that students go to school every day, unless they're sick or skipping when they're older.

But in 2012, Johns Hopkins University published The Importance of Being in School, showing that between 5 and 7.5 million students are chronically absent each year -- missing a month or more of school. Kindergarteners almost rival 9th-graders for absenteeism.

This story reproduces that research to see if the pattern holds true in Rhode Island. (It does.) And it investigates characteristics common among absent kindergartners that could help mitigate the obstacles to attendance.

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