Saturday, October 25, 2014
My Account  | Login
Nashua;59.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/skc.png;2014-10-25 11:05:18
Monday, June 23, 2014

National study finds two ends of teacher attendance: 16% chronically absent, 16% with excellent attendance

A study of more than 200,000 teachers nationwide found that 16 percent of teachers are absent at least once every 10 school days, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality.

While the study found that roughly the same number of teachers had excellent attendance records of three or fewer days missed all year, researchers said the population of chronically absent teachers was “disturbing.” ...

Sign up to continue

Print subscriber?    Sign up for Full Access!

Please sign up for as low as 36 cents per day to continue viewing our website.

Digital subscribers receive

  • Unlimited access to all stories from nashuatelegraph.com on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • Access nashuatelegraph.com, view our digital edition or use our Full Access apps.
  • Get more information at nashuatelegraph.com/fullaccess
Sign up or Login

A study of more than 200,000 teachers nationwide found that 16 percent of teachers are absent at least once every 10 school days, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality.

While the study found that roughly the same number of teachers had excellent attendance records of three or fewer days missed all year, researchers said the population of chronically absent teachers was “disturbing.”

“While these big city school districts are struggling to improve student achievement, they may be overlooking one of the most basic aspects of teacher effectiveness: every teacher being regularly on the job, teaching kids,” said Kate Walsh, president of the National
Council on Teacher Quality.

A Telegraph analysis based on data released by the Nashua School District found that nearly one-quarter of Nashua’s teaching staff used 10 or more sick days in each of the last two school years. That analysis did not adjust for teachers who took 11 or more consecutive sick days as the nationwide study did to account for long-term illnesses and other issues.

Across the nation, about 36 percent of teachers are absent 10 or more times a year, according to a 2012 study by the Center for American Progress, based on data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which has started asking school districts to report on teacher absence rates.

Studies also have shown a correlation between low student achievement and high rates of teacher absences.

Many education experts agree teachers are the single most important school-based factor in a student’s achievement.

Nationally, the cost of teacher absences – paying for substitute teachers – is about $4 billion annually, according to a report by the Center for American Progress. In Nashua, taxpayers spend $800,000-$900,000 a year hiring substitute teachers to cover for teacher absences.

The NCTQ study found that teachers averaged 11 days missed during a 186-day school year.

The largest group, about 40 percent, had moderate attendance, defined in the study as four to 10 days missed.

Teachers in Indianapolis, Ind., had the best attendance of the 40 districts the study looked at, averaging six days absent. They were followed by teachers in Washington, D.C.; Louisville, Ky.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Tampa, Fla.; New York City and Philadelphia.

Cleveland had the most days missed by teachers, an average of 16, followed by Columbus, Ohio; Nashville, Tenn.; Portland, Ore. and Jacksonville, Fla.

A number of the absences were classified as “district authorized,” such as professional development workshops and union meetings.

Nashua Superintendent Mark Conrad said that while Nashua’s attendance rates compare favorably with national averages, school leaders are still looking for ways to improve. Some of those ideas include limiting professional development workshops
during the school day.

“We are having conversations about concerns with teachers being out of the classroom too many days, but it’s been in the context of professional development days, and we’re looking at limiting the number of days in the future,” Conrad said in a previous interview. “You will see us moving in that direction.”

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Cote on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).