Monthly Archives: September 2023

The Long Shadow of Covid on K-12 Education: The Rise of Absenteeism in American Schools

The COVID-19 pandemic reshaped nearly every facet of our lives, and the education sector is no exception. As schools have struggled to return to normalcy and fill the gaps left in students’ education, American K-12 programs have been particularly stunted by an emerging effect of the  world wide public health crisis: the rise of absenteeism. The New York Times has presented some disturbing data about absenteeism, asserting that on any given day, approximately 10% of schools’ student bodies are absent in many communities. This phenomenon has far-reaching implications for students, educators, and parents alike, and it demands a closer examination.


No doubt increased mental health challenges for students in these years since school closures have contributed to this increase in absenteeism, so should parents take the path of least resistance and ignore worsening attendance records? The drawbacks greatly outweigh the benefits of this approach as we learn more about the penalties of absenteeism.


Absenteeism leads to significant learning loss as students miss out on essential lessons, instructions, and practice, making it challenging to keep up with their peers. Prolonged absenteeism can result in substantial knowledge gaps, making it difficult for students to grasp advanced concepts and build a strong educational foundation. These gaps further affect future educational success. Frequent absenteeism can have a lasting impact on a student’s overall educational trajectory, affecting their academic performance in subsequent years and potentially limiting future opportunities.

Although students might be citing the need to stay home as caused by anxiety and stress, these two factors are actually increased by absenteeism in the long-run. Students who frequently miss school may experience heightened anxiety and stress due to the pressure of catching up on missed work, assessments, and the fear of falling behind. It can also be much harder to assimilate back into the schedule due to the effects of absenteeism on social skills. Chronic absenteeism can hinder the development of social skills as students miss out on interactions with peers and opportunities to build relationships with classmates.

Some students may exhibit behavioral issues as a result of absenteeism, feeling disconnected from school and disengaged from the learning process. This in turn can lead to struggle with developing a sense of responsibility and accountability, which can affect academic and personal growth.Absenteeism can lead to a lack of motivation and interest in school, making it harder for students to engage in their education and set future academic goals. And if those goals include college, ultimately, gaps in education, suppressed social skills, and general academic insecurity have a serious detrimental influence on college admission outcomes. And practically speaking, students with inconsistent attendance records may face challenges when applying to colleges for the absenteeism itself: admissions committees often consider attendance and discipline records as part of the application process.

Support for students’ mental health and emotional well-being should remain a top priority; parents must be part of the team approach to keeping students on schedule and in school so that the resources allocated by American schools can do the good they were created to do. The rise of absenteeism in grades K-12 since the advent of COVID-19 is a complex issue with wide-ranging implications. As we move forward, addressing absenteeism and its underlying causes should be a key focus to ensure that no child’s education is left behind as we take steps forward in our changed world.

Edging Out the Admissions’ Competition

In the ever-evolving landscape of college admissions, the decision to take standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT remains a compelling advantage for prospective students. As colleges increasingly adopt optional test policies, submitting test scores provides an opportunity to stand out amidst a sea of applicants who choose not to release their scores.

In addition to the shift towards optional standardized tests, another factor has significantly impacted the college admissions landscape—the COVID-19 pandemic. With the sudden transition to online learning during quarantine, students faced unprecedented challenges and disruptions to their education. Many students relied heavily on internet devices, searching for information and resources to navigate their coursework. Unfortunately, this reliance also created opportunities for some students to engage in academic dishonesty, including cheating during online assessments. As a result, grade point averages (GPAs), which have traditionally been a crucial factor in admissions decisions, may have been influenced in ways that make it even more challenging for admissions departments to discern the true merits of applicants without standardized test scores.

Studies consistently demonstrate that students who submit strong standardized test scores have higher acceptance rates. These scores serve as a standardized benchmark, enabling admissions departments to compare applicants fairly, particularly in the absence of reliable GPAs influenced by the challenges of online learning and potential academic dishonesty.

By taking standardized tests, students showcase their academic abilities and demonstrate their preparedness for the rigors of higher education. These tests provide valuable insights into a student’s potential, beyond what can be gleaned from GPA, extracurricular activities, essays, and recommendation letters alone.

Moreover, submitting standardized test scores brings a sense of transparency and consistency to the admissions process. They offer admissions departments a reliable measure of a student’s aptitude and readiness to thrive in a college environment, regardless of their educational background or high school curriculum.

While the decision to take standardized tests ultimately lies with the individual student, it is important to recognize the significant advantage they offer in an environment where the majority of applicants are not releasing their scores. By seizing this opportunity, students can distinguish themselves and enhance their chances of acceptance to their desired colleges and universities.

In conclusion, the choice to take standardized tests should be seriously considered by aspiring college students. By doing so, they position themselves favorably within the admissions process, demonstrating their academic abilities, readiness for higher education, and commitment to their academic journey. Embracing the opportunity to take these tests opens doors to a multitude of possibilities and increases the likelihood of realizing their educational aspirations.