That Teacher Absenteeism Issue

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Linda Borg reports in the Providence Journal:

A national education magazine reports that Rhode Island has among the highest rates of chronic teacher absenteeism in the nation.

Among the states in the Civil Rights Data Collection, Nevada had the highest percentage of teachers, with nearly half of all teachers taking more than 10 days off, followed by Hawaii, at 48 percent, and Rhode Island, at 41 percent, according to a story in Education Week.

In South Dakota, the state with the lowest rate of teacher absenteeism, only 18 percent took more than 10 days off.

That’s on a work-year of generally 180 days, and it’s in addition to things like field trips and professional days taken as part of work.  Granted, the absent time includes sick and personal time, but the state-by-state comparison is the central concern.

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Considering that Rhode Island is pretty much the average state on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test, having a big chunk of the school year with absent teachers suggests missed opportunities.  That suggestion is reinforced by the Ocean State’s status as last in New England by this measure.



  • mikeinri

    According to the article, “The federal Civil Rights Data Collection counts days that are taken off for sick or personal leave when defining teacher absences…” So it’s not “in addition to sick and personal time.” Correct?

    • OceanStateCurrent

      That’s correct. I flipped the inclusion of sick/personal versus professional days, etc. Thanks for pointing that out; I’ve fixed it.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    Are there comparative figures for other occupations?:

    • Justin Katz

      The linked article says this about that:

      Education Week said it’s difficult to know how those absenteeism rates compare with other professions since teacher absenteeism is the only educational professional role included in that data set. But some different data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that workers in education, training, and library occupations are more likely to be absent compared with the majority of other professional and related occupations.

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