A hallmark of No Child Left Behind Act is its mandated school report card. It would not be too intrusive or onerous to require that school report cards include information on teacher absence. At least one state, Rhode Island, already includes a teacher attendance rate on its school report cards, a sign that the necessary data can flow between schools, districts, and state departments.
What would be even more useful, perhaps, is a graphical profile of teacher absence in a school. A simple bar chart showing monthly rates of teacher absence, perhaps adjusted for key characteristics of teachers and schools, would afford parents a glimpse into the absence culture of a school. Furthermore, such information could help district officials better understand local obstacles to implementing school improvement strategies, and it could lead eventually to school accountability requirements around teacher absence. Such requirements would promote equity, since students in high-poverty schools currently experience more teacher absences than their peers in more affluent areas.
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