Solving the Problem of Chronic Absenteeism In Our Community

Solving the Problem of Chronic Absenteeism In Our Community


Absenteeism affects schools across the country and we need to solve this problem

Team Information
Pugnacious Problem Solvers

Chaffey College

About the Problem

Are you currently enrolled at Chaffey College?


Context & Problem Description

Chronic absenteeism affects children from kindergarten through high school. Recent data by Stanford University shows absenteeism has increased from 12% in the school year before the COVID-19 pandemic to 30% in 2021-22. In California around 1.8 million students were chronically absent, meaning they missed a minimum of 18 days per school year. We researched this issue and spoke with educators, parents, and students to learn how chronic absenteeism affects a student’s education and future.

Problem Category


How did you identify this problem? (Research, Interviews, etc.)

One of our team members, Grace, has experienced this problem. Following the pandemic, Grace struggled with absenteeism as a freshman in high school due to bullying. This led to severe anxiety and depression, and prevented her from returning to school her sophomore year. Her experience with absenteeism heightened our awareness of this issue and led to us interviewing teachers, counselors, principals, parents, and students in local K-12 schools to identify the scope of this problem.

Problem Details

Who are those affected by this problem? (Provide detailed information including statistics, demographics, etc.)

The public school system, students, teachers, administrators and families are currently affected by this problem. However, it will have long term effects on entire communities since it will affect the education and graduation rates of our children.

How often does this problem occur?

This problem occurs daily in the lives of our children attending schools in our k-12 education system. It has only gotten worse since the pandemic has occurred. The rate of absenteeism varies among socioeconomic levels, along with race and ethnicity.

Please explain how long the problem has been going on?

Some students have always struggled with absenteeism. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in issues that cause absenteeism. A few examples are: finances, housing issues, illness, transportation, anxiety, depression and bullying.

How is the problem disrupting your community?

The most recent data from 2021-22 shows San Bernardino county absenteeism rates at 34.9% and California's rates at 30.0%. Over one third of the students in the county are chronically absent and missing a minimum of 18 days of school.

Please explain if the issue is perceived as a problem by your community.

We interviewed several people in the community about their impressions of the scope of the absenteeism problem and what they feel is contributing to the escalation of absenteeism rates. Each person we spoke with has felt the effects of this problem.

What are the specific geographic areas impacted by the problem?

Geographic areas composed of lower economic levels have higher rates of chronic absenteeism. According to the San Bernardino county website, students who are identified as socioeconomically disadvantaged are more likely to be chronically absent.

Who are the Stakeholders, those wanting this problem to be fixed?

Students, families, and school districts are the most obvious stakeholders for this problem. However, stakeholders for this problematic situation should encompass all members of our communities.

Email - Main Point of Contact (College/Organization/Etc.)

These are a list of all the sources we used to get our information:,students%20experience%20the%20largest%20disparity.,the%20most%20recent%20data%20available.,California%3A%20Advocate%20for%20Additional%20Resources%20and%20Improved%20Policy,at%20every%20level%20of%20government.,well%20and%20targeted%20well%2C%20will,1%E2%80%933%20(31%25).