Score one for charter schools
A new study on teachers' attendance finds that almost 30 percent of public-school teachers are chronically absent, confirming earlier federal estimates. The study also shows that conventional public-school teachers are about three times more likely to be chronically absent than charter-school teachers.
Last fall, the U.S. Education Department estimated that 27 percent of teachers nationwide miss more than 10 regular class days annually, based on districts' self-reported 2014 data, the latest it had available. Now, a Thomas B. Fordham Institute analysis reinforces that figure, finding that more than 28 percent of public-school teachers miss at least 11 days annually, The Washington Free Beacon reports.
But only about 10 percent of charter-school teachers are chronically absent from their classrooms, according to the Fordham Institute. And charter schools' unionized teachers are twice as likely to be chronically absent as their nonunionized teachers.
Of course, some teachers' circumstances make prolonged absences unavoidable. But these instances surely account for only a small fraction of chronic absenteeism reflected in the federal estimates and Fordham analysis.
And with National Bureau of Economic Research findings linking chronic teacher absenteeism with decreased student outcomes, parents should be aware of such data in choosing their children's education — that is, those parents who have a viable choice.