1 In 4 Kids Aren’t Going To School Anymore — ‘Chronic Absenteeism Is A Bigger Issue Than People Realize'

Journalists and teachers are spreading awareness on this often overlooked issue.

empty classroom Lopolo / Shutterstock

Nowadays, more children are consistently absent from school. 

This is creating a huge problem for schools, teachers, and, of course, the students themselves. People are finally starting to take notice of this problem, including on TikTok.

Over 25% of kids are regularly missing school now.

Jack Mac, a journalist for Barstool Sports, shared an Instagram post from the New York Times on TikTok. The post showed that 28% of students were chronically absent during the 2021-2022 school year, with the 2022-2023 school year at 26%.


“Kids aren’t going to school anymore, and I don’t know what to think,” Mac said. “School absences have exploded almost everywhere.”


1/4th of kids are constantly absent at school these days?!? Wtf?!?

♬ original sound - Jack Mac

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Mac also pointed out social media posts claiming that students are now getting much lower ACT scores than previously.

A teacher named Gabe Dannenbring also chimed in with his thoughts in a stitch with the original video.

“This is actually, like, a much bigger deal than people really think that it is,” he said. “So, I’m a real-life teacher. I’ve been teaching and working in schools for, like, I don’t know, seven years now.”

Dannenbring said this is a combination of two issues. “So, we’ve got so many kids that aren’t showing up to school, and then now, for some reason, in public education, there’s this whole idea that you should never fail kids,” he said.


Because there’s now a belief that you shouldn’t fail kids, many of them are missing valuable instruction time and still passing on to the next grade.

As Dannenbring said, “We’ve got these kids that never come to school, and then, they get passed to the next grade, and they do this for years and years and years, and then they end up graduating, and they’ve really never been to school.”

Dannenbring implored parents to get involved in their children’s education to stop this from happening. “Parents, please send your kids to school. Please, just send them to school,” he said. “And if public school isn’t your thing, that’s totally fine, just homeschool your kids. But, please, just give them some sort of education. Don’t withhold education from kids.”

@cbseveningnews THE #COVID GENERATION: This school official in #Kentucky makes up to 30 house calls a week searching for chronically absent #students. Tonight, CBS News Meg Oliver is in one county where chronic student #absenteeism has gone up nearly 40% since 2020, reflecting a troubling nationwide trend. #news #school #absent #education #pandemic ♬ original sound - CBSEveningNews

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There are several factors influencing chronic absenteeism.

According to the New York Times article that went along with the Instagram post, “Today, student absenteeism is a leading factor hindering the nation’s recovery from pandemic learning losses, educational experts say.”

There are a range of reasons why students aren’t attending school. Because school work is now also available online, many just don’t see a need to. 


The New York Times reported that some take vacations during the school year, have no way to get to school, or are struggling with their mental health.

This can create a vicious cycle. According to the outlet, “Experts say missing school is both a symptom of pandemic-related challenges and also a cause. Students who are behind academically may not want to attend, but being absent sets them further back. Anxious students may avoid school, but hiding out can fuel their anxiety.”

So, although it can feel easier to avoid school in the moment, it actually just makes it more difficult to attend in the future. Whatever a student’s reason for not attending school, it won’t get easier; it will only get harder.


Attending school is clearly hard for many students. Likely, the only way to fix this will be to begin failing students again.

Students must learn that there are consequences for their actions, and they can’t just get by with no effort. 

However, students’ concerns also need to be addressed so they feel comfortable going to school in the first place.


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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news, and human interest topics.