Featured Image

Report finds 60% of D.C. high school students ‘chronically absent’ last year | The Washington Times

March 12, 2024
  • D.C. Policy Center

A March 8, 2024, article in The Washington Times cited the Education Policy Initiative’s 2022-23 State of D.C. Schools report:

In its annual report released Friday with city officials, the D.C. Policy Center found that even as many city teenagers missed at least 10% of the academic year, the high school graduation rate rose from 68% in 2018-19 to 76% in 2022-23. 

Truancy rates were highest among low-income students. Before COVID-19, the nonprofit think tank said, about 24% of all K-12 students were chronically absent, which the public schools defined as missing up to 20% of each school day.

“Students are taking time off when they don’t feel good [mentally or physically], which did not happen before,” Yesim Sayin, head of the D.C. Policy Center, told The Washington Times. “There’s a greater sense that being in school is not as important as before. If they’re not going to school, it undermines the investments we’re making.”

The D.C. Policy Center also conducted a series of focus groups with local students, teachers and parents. Chelsea Coffin, director of the center’s education policy initiative, said some participating teens expressed persistent concerns about school safety.

Read More: Report finds 60% of D.C. high school students ‘chronically absent’ last year

Additional reading: State of D.C. Schools, 2022-23: Challenges to pandemic recovery in a new normal


D.C. Policy Center

Established in 2016, the D.C. Policy Center is a non-partisan research and policy organization committed to advancing policies for a strong and vibrant economy in the District of Columbia. Through rigorous research and collaboration, the D.C. Policy Center develops and tests policy ideas, disseminates its findings, and engages in constructive dialogue and debate.

For more information, please see our About page.