On May 15, the Biden Administration announced new funding and resources to combat chronic absenteeism at the White House Every Day Counts Summit.

By the numbers: Chronic absenteeism, where students miss at least 10% of school, surged to 31% in the 2021-2022 school year.

A center for ants? No surprise, improving attendance is essential for enhancing education outcomes. Kids can’t learn if they aren’t coming to school (virtually or otherwise).

During the event, officials encouraged states and districts to prioritize efforts to reduce chronic absenteeism, including increasing communication with families, making home visits, making school “more relevant” to student interests, and helping students and their families meet basic needs. [USA Today]

  • Education Secretary Miguel Cardona emphasized that the administration can’t demand state and local officials do more without additional financial support.
  • Cardona urged applications for the $250 million available through the Education Innovation and Research grant program to curb absenteeism and increase student engagement. He also highlighted the administration’s Fiscal Year 2025 Budget proposal which includes $8 billion in grants to help close achievement gaps and increase student attendance. This program, designed to distribute funds over five years, would require Congressional approval.

“If schools and policymakers want to solve the problem of chronic absenteeism – particularly in under-served communities – then they must invest in new ideas, research, and tools that will make school a place where kids feel welcomed and engaged, and where learning is relevant. In short, a school needs to be a place where kids want to be,” writes Sara Schapiro, Senior Fellow and Director of Social Innovation for the Federation of American Scientists.