Nearly 30% of Public School Teachers Are ‘Chronically’ Skipping Classes, Study Says

Almost 30 percent of public school teachers are “chronically” skipping classes, according to a new study.

Over 28 percent of public school educators miss 11 or more school days each year, discovered a report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education policy nonprofit think tank.

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The study, released Wednesday, found that public school teachers are three times more likely than their charter school counterparts to take more than 10 days a year off school for personal or health-related reasons.

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute also revealed the average teacher takes eight days off per year. This figure is over twice as large as the three-and-a-half days missed by the average employee across industries nationwide.

Teachers employed by unionized charter schools were two times as likely as their peers to miss more than 10 days of school a year, the report revealed.

“When in doubt, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one,” David Griffith, the author of the study, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “And the simplest explanation for the teacher chronic absenteeism gap between charter and traditional public schools is that the latter are usually subject to collective bargaining agreements that are extremely generous when it comes to the amount of sick and personal leave that teachers are guaranteed.”

Griffith referenced Hawaiian teachers, who receive 18 paid sick leave days out of their 180-day school year. The study says that nearly four-fifths of Hawaiian teachers take advantage of at least 10 of these days.

“In general, the union response defends these sorts of provisions by arguing that teachers are more likely to get sick than workers in other industries,” Griffith said. He noted the statement likely bears some truth.

“There’s a very direct link between teacher attendance and student achievement; so if teachers are missing more than two weeks of school (which is how teacher chronic absenteeism is defined), then students are losing about two weeks of education. And that’s incredibly damaging to their long-term prospects,” Griffith said.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has advocated school choice and alternatives to public school, including charter schools and school vouchers.

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