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Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Hawaii is #1 in Teacher Absenteeism at 79% 
By Selected News Articles @ 2:51 PM :: 7572 Views :: Education K-12, Hawaii Statistics, Labor

Chart: Hawaii is #1 in Teacher Absenteeism at 79% 

Related: Hawaii is #1 in Teachers Union Power

Related: DoE Student Absenteeism Over 20%

Teacher Absenteeism in Charter and Traditional Public Schools

From Thomas B Fordham Institute, September 20, 2017

Research confirms what common sense dictates: Students learn less when their teachers aren’t there. According to multiple studies, a ten-day increase in teacher absence results in at least ten fewer days of learning for students.

Clearly, some absences are unavoidable—teachers are only human. But compared to their counterparts in other industries and other countries, U.S. teachers seem to have poor attendance. On average, they miss about eight school days a year due to sick and personal leave (in addition to the breaks they get for school vacations and national holidays); meanwhile, the average US worker takes about three-and-a-half sick days a year. Yet the first of these averages obscures the degree to which absenteeism is concentrated among a subset of teachers.

In Teacher Absenteeism in Charter and Traditional Public Schools, Fordham senior research and policy associate David Griffith takes an unprecedented look at teacher chronic absenteeism rates in charter and traditional public schools—that is, the percentage of teachers who miss at least eleven days of school, excluding professional development days and field trips.His major findings include the following:

  • Nationally, teachers in traditional public schools are almost three times as likely to be chronically absent as teachers in charter schools: 28.3 percent versus 10.3 percent.

  • In eight states plus the District of Columbia, traditional public school teachers are at least four times as likely to be chronically absent as their charter school peers.

  • In thirty-four of the thirty-five states with sizable charter sectors—and in each of the ten largest cities in the country—teachers in traditional public schools are more likely to be chronically absent than teachers in charters.

  • The chronic absenteeism gap between charter and traditional public school teachers is largest in states where districts—but not charters—are required to bargain collectively. 

  • Teachers in unionized charters are twice as likely to be chronically absent as teachers in non-unionized charters. 

Overall, these results suggest that the high chronic absenteeism rates we observe for teachers in traditional public schools are at least partly attributable to the generous leave policies enshrined in state laws and local collective bargaining agreements—and that the chronic absenteeism rate in many places could be reduced without exploiting teachers. Consequently, as policymakers across the country move to tackle student chronic absenteeism through their ESSA accountability plans, we must ask: 

Why would we hold schools accountable for the attendance of their students but not of their own teachers?

How can anyone expect students to learn when their teachers are absent? 

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Foreword & Executive Summary, Teacher Absenteeism


School systems have been generous in supplying teachers with excused absences. On average, teachers get more than twelve sick and personal days per year, though only one-third of US workers are entitled to ten or more sick days, even though the latter have a longer work year (up to 60 days more). For the most part, these generous leave policies are negotiated by teacher unions and school boards and incorporated into contracts (or sometimes state law).

These policies explain why more than one-quarter of public school teachers in the United States are “chronically absent” as defined by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights—meaning they miss more than ten days of school per year due to sick or personal leave. In some states, the numbers are truly shocking. For example, three-quarters of teachers in Hawaii are chronically absent….

Nationally, 28.3 percent of teachers in traditional public schools miss more than ten school days a year for sick or personal leave. (This is apart from all school holidays and summer vacation, as well as professional development days.) In contrast, just 10.3 percent of teachers in charter schools are chronically absent.

Further, in thirty-four of the thirty-five states with sizable charter sectors, teachers in traditional public schools are more likely to be chronically absent than teachers in charter schools.

Hawaii and Nevada have the largest gaps: In Hawaii, the chronic absenteeism gap between charter and traditional public school teachers is 56 percentage points (23 percent versus 79 percent). …

read … Teacher Absenteeism

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Ed Week: Regular Public School Teachers Miss More School Than Charter Teachers, Study Finds  (excerpts)

The differences are starker in some states than others: In Hawaii, for instance, about 79 percent of traditional public school teachers are chronically absent. In charter schools there, it’s 23 percent…..

…“The thing that really gives me confidence in the patterns we’re uncovering is that the magnitude of the differences [between district-run schools and charter schools] is really difficult to explain with anything else,” said Griffith. “I don’t think that Hawaiian teachers [in public schools] are that much more likely to take maternity leave or get sick. What is sure, is that teachers in Hawaii are entitled to 18 days of sick leave, which is more than any other state.”…


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