White House Launches Initiative to Increase School Attendance Nationwide

Photo by Thomas Barwick
Research shows that kids who miss more than 18 days of school per year are more susceptible to dropping out

The White House has announced a new approach to slashing the nation's dropout rates.

Earlier today, officials launched Every Student, Every Day, a new campaign aimed to increase schools' attendance rates and combat the chronic absenteeism.

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"Great teachers matter, great principals matter, but they can't work their magic if our babies aren't in school," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said at a press conference.

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Statistics show that a student is more likely to drop out of school when they miss 10 percent—approximately 18 days—of the school year, regardless of whether those absences were excused. Even if those students stay in school, they are more likely to struggle academically.

The Obama administration announced that as a first step, it would begin tracking and publishing attendance rates of school districts nationwide to raise awareness. Additional details of the program have not yet been unveiled.

"I really think it is about saving kids' lives," Duncan said. "If kids are missing a month of school or two months or three months, there is nothing positive that can come of that.”

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