The Importance of Being In School

Up to 7.5 million students miss a month of school each year

While the nation has rightly focused on addressing low graduation rates, few have narrowed in on one of the primary indicators of dropping out — missing school. High absenteeism is rampant in our schools, with some schools having as much as 40 percent of their students missing a month or more of school each year. These are the students who will not graduate.

But the scope and scale of the issue have largely gone undetected until now. The release of 'The Importance of Being There: A Report on Absenteeism in the Nation's Public Schools' is changing that, with its dissection of state and local data. The result is the unearthing of a massive problem and potential ways to begin addressing it.