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Study Ranks Duval Schools Among Top Districts For Absent Teachers

Daphne Cholet

Duval County is among nine districts in the nation where more than half of teachers are frequently absent throughout the school year.

That’s according to a study released Tuesday by the National Council on Teacher Quality.

The study looked at the attendance of over 234,000 teachers in the 2012-13 school year and found that about 16 percent chronically absent, which means they missed 18 days or more.

Researchers looked at 40 districts throughout the country. The findings did not not include teachers who took extended leave or other long-term absences due to illness or family issues.

Cleveland topped the list with the highest number of missed days on average, but Duval County wasn’t far behind.

The study shows that 67 percent of teachers in the district miss 11 days or more out of the 186-day school-year.

Here are a few other key findings:

  • On average, teachers missed 11 days out of a 186-day school year for any reason, typically illness, illness of a family member, personal business or professional development. On average, these districts offered a leave package of 13 days, intended for illness or personal reasons.
  • In spite of previous research to the contrary, no relationship was found between teacher absences and the poverty levels of the children in the school building. More affluent schools were just as likely to have high rates of absences as less affluent schools.
  • Cleveland had the highest number of days missed on average (16 days), followed by Columbus, Ohio (15 days), Nashville, Portland, and Jacksonville (all 14 days).
  • Indianapolis teachers had the lowest number of days missed of the 40 districts (6 days), followed by teachers working in the District of Columbia, Louisville (KY), Milwaukee, Tampa, New York and Philadelphia also had low average numbers of absences per teacher per year, all ranging from 7 to 9 days on average.

You can follow Rhema Thompson on Twitter @RhemaThompson.