According to a recent study, the effect of teacher absences on student learning is an increase in lost learning opportunities and a significant decrease in student academic ability.
In Missouri and Illinois public schools, nearly 1 in 4 teachers were considered to be “chronically absent” based on the number of days they missed during the school year by the US Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The data released by the department’s Office for Civil Rights shows that in the St. Louis region, about half the staff were absent for more than 10 days of school.
The department has found that research shows a significant impact on students when chronically absent teachers miss at least 10 days.
“We know that the quality of the classroom teachers are essential to the quality of instruction,” said Sharonica Hardin-Bartley, superintendent of University City schools. “When that teacher is not in front of those students, learning is lost.”
There frequently are not enough substitute teachers to meet the demand, and available substitutes are often less qualified than regular teachers, and unfamiliar with students or a particular classroom.