May 25, 2016
Kristin Gimbel, 971.273.3830
State Releases Absenteeism Report Featuring Student and Family Perspectives
Chief Education Officer convenes legislators and cross-sector leaders to discuss shared response to findings
(Salem, OR)–Today, the Chief Education Office released a report on chronic absenteeism that examines barriers to regular school attendance from the perspective of students and families. The report, created in collaboration with Portland State University and the Coalition of Communities of Color, gathered data through 44 focus groups in seven communities across the State.
The qualitative study resulted in the identification of two overarching themes: a need for culturally responsive practices (including those connected to relationships and school/classroom opportunities), and the importance of addressing systemic barriers (defined as a set of circumstances that affect school and families). In addition to general themes across communities, the study includes a focused analysis of two student groups most affected by chronic absenteeism, students with disabilities and Native American students. Collectively, the themes informed a set of six recommendations for the State and local communities across Oregon.
“This study offers a powerful snapshot of the experiences of students and families in our schools that have contributed to high absenteeism rates,” said Chief Education Officer Lindsey Capps. “The voices in this report, taken in concert with existing research, call us to come together to develop cross-sector solutions to engage students in school, and holistically support families.”
The report is unique to the field and the State. Unlike existing state and national reports, which primarily focus on best practices within districts to improve attendance rates, this report focuses on using student and family voices to identify the root causes that contribute to students being regularly absent. The study intentionally oversampled populations who are most likely to be disengaged from school including tribal students, students with disabilities, communities of color, and students who speak English as a second language.
Chief Education Officer Lindsey Capps will host a report briefing and discussion today to bring leaders together to reflect on how the student and family perspectives offer a lens to inform existing and future efforts to reduce absenteeism, and engage students in their learning. Attendees will include: legislative leaders, education agency leaders and partners, and cross-sector agency leaders representing health and human services.
Chronic absenteeism is linked to critical markers of success in school. Absenteeism as early as sixth grade decreases high school graduation likelihood, and generally chronic absenteeism is also predictive of post-secondary enrollment, and increased involvement with the juvenile justice system. Beyond education, absenteeism also has implications for individuals’ long-term health and wellbeing. Children who do not graduate high school have greater health risks as adults.