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Chronic Absenteeism - Who's Missing School and Why

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Today, a look at a troubling situation affecting students nationwide - chronic absenteeism. "Chronic absenteeism" is defined as missing 10% or more of school days in a school year for any reason. New research out of Johns Hopkins estimates that 5 million to 7.5 million students nationwide are chronically absent each year, including 10 percent of kindergartners and first graders. In Baltimore City, more than 40 percent of high school students are chronically absent. Robert Balfranz, research professor at the Center for the Social Organization of Schools at the Johns Hopkins School of Education, joins us to talk about a new White House initiative on the issue.

Plus, Joe Manko, principal of Liberty Elementary School, and Karen Webber, director of the Education and Youth Development program for the Open Society Institute in Baltimore and a former Baltimore City principal, shares their perspectives on which students are struggling with attendance and how schools can best reach them.

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Maureen Harvie is senior producer for On the Record. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and joined WYPR in 2014 as an intern for the newsroom. Whether coordinating live election night coverage, capturing the sounds of a roller derby scrimmage, interviewing veterans, or booking local authors, she is always on the lookout for the next story.