Think most truants are poor kids or kids with jobs? Think again.
It's become a truism in the education world that students can't learn if they're not in school. But a new report on student absenteeism suggests many kids don't believe this behavior hurts them academically or even gets noticed by their teachers or parents.
Researchers from Get Schooled, a national nonprofit seeking to improve graduation rates and college success rates, conducted over 500 interviews with teenagers in 25 cities nationwide to produce Skipping to Nowhere, a new report released Wednesday. These respondents, interviewed at their local malls, were in grades eight through 12 and reported that they had skipped school at least once a month.
The nation's school absenteeism rate is significant. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University estimate that from 5 to 7.5 million students each year are not attending school on a regular basis. Students who miss more than 10 days per academic year are 20 percent less likely to graduate from high school than their peers, according to the University's Everyone Graduates Center.
Get Schooled's new report paints a portrait that offers fresh perspective about who, exactly, is skipping school. Among the findings:
Just over half of the respondents were white, with Hispanics accounting for 24 percent, African Americans for 16 percent, and Asians for 2 percent.
Nearly 60 percent of the respondents are growing up in two-parent households.
Two-thirds of the respondents described their household's income to be average or above average.
About a third of the respondents have parents who graduated from college, and an equal fraction had a parent who had dropped out of high school.
Only 6 percent of the respondents said they were skipping school either to work or to help care for a member of their family.