Study: U.S. teachers are absent too many days
A study from the National Council on Teacher Quality looked at teacher attendance for over 234,000 teachers in 40 districts during the 2012-13 school year. Teachers in the U.S’s largest school districts missed an average of 11 days, and 16 percent of teachers missed 18 days or more.
Kate Walsh, president of the Washington think tank that advocates for teachers says, “Big city school districts are striving to improve student achievement, yet they seem to forget one of the most basic aspects of teacher effectiveness; teachers being on the job regularly, teaching kids.”
Nancy Waymack chimes in, “Teacher absences affect student achievement. No matter how engaging or talented they are, teachers can only have an impact if they are in the classroom.”
The cities with the lowest average absences include Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Louisville, Tampa and Washington, D.C. The highest teacher absences occur in Columbus, Cleveland, Ohio, Nashville, Portland, Oregon and Jacksonville.
The study was based on a 186-day school year and did not factor in long-term absences for maternity or paternity leave or serious illnesses.
Absences also cost a lot of money. The 40 districts spent around $424 million to pay substitute teachers.
It was also noted that districts with formal policies to discourage teachers from missing school do not appear to have higher attendance rates over schools without policies in place.
I agree with Walsh and Waymack. Teachers need to make it a priority to be present in the classroom. There are always occurrences where they may be absent a couple of days, but ultimately students need a teacher to be present consistently in order for students to reach their full potential.