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Let's talk about chronic absenteeism

Max Klingensmith

Post-pandemic learning is affecting schools nationwide. New Mexico schools have been hit especially hard by chronic absenteeism. In the 2018-2019 school year nearly 18% of New Mexico kids were chronically absent, meaning they missed 10% or more of school days for any reason including illness. That number jumped to over 40% the following year. There has been little improvement as of the last school year, with chronic absenteeism hovering around 39% statewide, according to the New Mexico Public Education Department’s Annual Attendance Report.

This spike in chronic absenteeism is a contributing factor to low standardized test scores. Furthermore, students’ disengagement from school could have consequences beyond irregular attendance – a key predictor of students dropping out of high school. A compromised education often leads to diminished health, affects the economy and workforce, and increases involvement in the criminal justice system.

On this week’s Let’s Talk New Mexico we’ll discuss chronic absenteeism, the resources available to help, and what gaps still need to be filled to re-engage our students in their education. And, we want to hear from you! Are you a parent whose child is struggling with regular attendance? What classroom interventions could help? Email letstalk@kunm.org, leave a voice message by clicking the button below, or call (505) 277-5866 during the show Thursday morning at 8.


Related reading:
"New Mexico among states with highest rates of chronic absenteeism, AP study finds," Albuquerque Journal

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Taylor is a reporter with our Poverty and Public Health project. She is a lover of books and a proud dog mom. She's been published in Albuquerque The Magazine several times and enjoys writing about politics and travel.