California's Chronic Absenteeism Reaches ‘Crisis’ Point

Chronic absenteeism has reached an all-time high in California. In 2021-22, which is the latest data available, 30% of students in the state’s public schools missed at least 18 days of class. Kindergartners had the highest rate of chronic absence. One of the top reasons cited by parents was a lack of transportation.

Experts are calling this a make-or-break moment for California’s children.

“This is a crisis, and it’s not going to change until we do everything we can to get kids back in school 100%,” Heather Hough, director of Policy Analysis for California Education, told CalMatters. “What we all fear is that this will become the new normal.… It is hard to overstate the importance of this issue, and it is absolutely a pivotal moment.”

Hough’s organization will study the issue and recommend policy changes to California lawmakers.  

Read more about the rising absent rate in California here