(Daily Caller News Foundation) – American students have been missing class at record rates following the COVID-19 pandemic, which kept them from in-person learning for months, according to a Friday report from Stanford University education professor Thomas Dee in partnership with The Associated Press.
More than 25% of students missed at least 10% of classes during the 2021-2022 school year, totaling an estimated 6.5 million students who have become chronically absent, according to Dee’s report. Prior to the pandemic, just 15% of students were missing the same amount of school.
“The long-term consequences of disengaging from school are devastating. And the pandemic has absolutely made things worse and for more students,” Hedy Chang, executive director of Attendance Works, a nonprofit that focuses on addressing chronic absenteeism, told the AP.
Students in Alaska, New Mexico and Washington D.C. were the most chronically absent; in Alaska, nearly 50% of students were not showing up to class and in New Mexico, about 40% of students were chronically absent, the report shows. At least 48% of students were chronically absent in Washington D.C. during the 2021-2022 school year.
The rate of chronically absent kids has doubled in at least seven states from the 2018-2019 to the 2021-2022 school year, according to the report.
Every state with available data saw an increase in chronic absenteeism during the 2021-2022 school year, the report found. The increase in chronically absent students had no correlation to the rate of COVID-19 cases.
Though most states have not released their chronic absenteeism numbers from the 2022-2023 school year, some states are reporting that the problem has not been alleviated, according to the AP. In Connecticut and Massachusetts, chronic absenteeism numbers remained double than what they were prior to the pandemic.
As states struggle to address chronic absenteeism numbers, the nation’s students are suffering massive learning loss; civics test scores saw their first-ever drop in the subject area and just 13% of eighth graders’ tested proficiently in U.S. history in 2022. Following the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022, the country also saw math scores decline for the first time.