Facebook Pixel
Plain English with Derek Thompson

Why School Absences Have "Exploded" Across America

The other day, I read a statistic about my hometown of Washington D.C. that knocked my socks off. In D.C. high schools, 60 percent of students were chronically absent in the last school year. That means they missed one day of school every two weeks. Among ninth graders, it’s even worse: One-third of D.C. freshmen were absent for the equivalent of six weeks of school.
The New York Times reported that, nationwide, one quarter of public school students are now chronically absent. That figure has practically doubled since before the pandemic. And it’s doubled across all sorts of districts—rich and poor, liberal and conservative. Today’s guest is Nat Malkus, a former teacher who is the deputy director of education policy at the American Enterprise Institute. We talk about why school absences have exploded across the country; why some people think this just doesn’t matter; why we think it might matter quite a bit; and what teachers, parents, and lawmakers should do about it.
Host: Derek Thompson
Guest: Nat Malkus
Producer: Devon Renaldo
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Plain English with Derek Thompson
Not playing