Texas Charter Teachers Shine in Chronic Absenteeism Study

Texas Charter Teachers Shine in Chronic Absenteeism Study

September 20, 2017

Contact: Christine Isett or 512-584-8272, x 311

A study just released by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute found that nationally teachers that teach in traditional public schools are nearly three times as likely to be chronically absent (miss more than 10 days of school annually) than teachers in public charter schools. In Texas, the study found that charter teachers were two times less likely to be chronically absent than peers in traditional schools.

“The significance of these findings cannot be overstated as they are directly related to teacher quality and student learning,” said Dr. Bruce Marchand, Director of Charter School Development and Growth. Marchand added, “Students are taught more effectively by the classroom teacher of record, not a substitute.”

The study cites research that suggests that there is a one to one relationship between student learning and teacher absenteeism; specifically, that a ten-day increase in teacher absence results in at least a ten-day learning loss for students.

Of the two Texas cities studied, Houston and Dallas, Houston public charter teachers were found to be 50 percent less chronically absent than their traditional public school peers while Dallas public charter teachers were three times less likely to be chronically absent than their traditional school peers. The study also looked at large charter networks (CMOs) and of the six Texas CMOs studied (Harmony, IDEA, KIPP, Responsive Ed, Great Hearts, and BASIS) all had teacher chronic absenteeism rates at nine percent or lower.

There are many factors for lower chronic absenteeism rates for Texas public charters than traditional public schools. The study includes one possibility–a “no excuses” mentality that is part of the culture for students and staff in some Texas charter schools.

Marchand, a former charter superintendent, added, “Some Texas charter schools simply do not offer as many paid absence days as their traditional public school counterparts, often due to the funding challenges that Texas charter operators face.”