Commonwealth Policy Center

Almost one-third of Kentucky public school students are chronically absent. This means that 30% of them have missed at least 10% of the school year. In Jefferson County, the number is closer to 40%. This is a crisis. When students miss this many class days, they suffer academically and socially. Some blame COVID-19 school closures for normalizing absences, but Kentucky students already struggled with chronic absenteeism before 2020. High absentee rates are often caused by homelessness, a lack of transportation, and parental neglect. It’s a comprehensive problem which needs input from both parents and public schools. If our children are going to become well-adjusted adults and prepared for the future, then education should be a priority and so should solving the problem of chronic absenteeism.