Time Off: Colorado Teachers and Absenteeism

A new report puts the state's public-school teachers among the nation's worst when it comes to missing classroom time.
December 5 2012, 11:30 AM

Colorado’s public-school teachers are among the nation’s worst when it comes to missing classroom time, according to a recent report by the  Center for American Progress on how teacher absenteeism can affect classroom achievement.

Nearly 43 percent of the state’s public-school teachers missed at least 10 work days in the 2009-2010 school year, compared to the national rate of 36 percent, making Colorado’s teacher-absentee numbers 40th in the country. Among all states, Utah had the lowest teacher-absentee rate at 20.9 percent. Rhode Island, at 50.2 percent, had the highest.

The Center for American Progress says absenteeism decreases student achievement and raises costs for schools in part because of the increased need for substitutes. The United States Department of Education has called the 10-day measure a “leading indicator” when assessing classroom achievement, the study says.

Researchers discovered teachers were absent most frequently on Mondays and Fridays and that “a high proportion of absences due to illness occur in blocks of time short enough that no medical certification is required.” Teachers tend to be absent less often if they’re required to notify their principal about pending absences.

Data used for the report was collected through the United States Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection and was released earlier this year. Nearly 58,000 public schools were covered, of which Colorado accounted for 1,178.

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