Why students skip school
September 14th, 2012
01:20 PM ET

Why students skip school

by Carl Azuz, CNN

(CNN) - “School is boring,” say about half of American students who routinely skip.  But when asked what they’re doing instead of attending class, most say they’re just hanging out with their friends or sleeping.

A survey recently published at Getschooled.com cites data that as many as 7 million students - about 15% of the K-12 population - are out of school 18 or more days of the school year.  And many of them don’t think skipping school will impact their future.

That’s not in line with reality.  The study points out that students who skip more than 10 days of school are significantly (about 20%) less likely to get a high school diploma.  And they’re 25% less likely to enroll in higher education.

Can parents have an impact here?  Absolutely.  In fact, parental encouragement to attend school was the most widely cited factor in what would make students want to go to class diligently.

But many of those surveyed said their parents didn’t even know when students skipped.  In fact, 42% said their parents either never knew or rarely knew when their kids were absent from school; another 24% added that parents knew “sometimes.”  So parental engagement and knowledge of children’s whereabouts seem key to keeping kids in class.

Students also said that encouragement from anyone to whom they felt a personal connection, from teachers to coaches to celebrities, could influence better attendance.  “If we - parents, educators, and even celebrities - show them we truly care about them, their aspirations and frustrations, they will be more likely to care about making it to school,” writes Marie Groark, executive director of the Get Schooled Foundation.

Other solutions:  Those surveyed said they wanted to see a “clear connection” between their classes and the jobs they’d like down the road.  They also cited a better understanding of consequences, greater support of teachers, and more friends at school as factors that could make them attend more often.

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Filed under: At Home • Behavior • Carl Azuz • High school • Middle school
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. non

    I skipped class quite a bit in high school with my friends. We were in a small town and often drove to the city to go shopping or catch a movie or just have a good time. Surprise surprise, we all passed, we all got degrees, a couple of us got their masters, and now we have great high-paying jobs and healthy marriages. The only difference is we still know how to have fun and not take life too seriously.
    There is a HUGE difference between kids who skip to smoke and fail their classes (generally they have some serious issues at home) and the kids who skip because they're bored out of their minds and tired of watching the day pass away through the window.

    September 27, 2012 at 11:56 am |
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    September 20, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
  3. Daniel

    If kids skip school then what dose that say about the future generation.

    September 19, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • earlbowden

      It says the same thing as it did for the kids that skipped school in your generation.

      September 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
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    September 19, 2012 at 2:10 am |
  5. Ryan

    Telling kids not to skip schools is like telling Carl Azuz not to tell bad puns at the end of his show.

    September 18, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
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    September 18, 2012 at 7:11 am |
  7. JD

    Most classes in high school I have never referred back to in college and isn't really aimed towards my job. It's not that we aren't "challenged" enough, it's we have no motivation or real interest in some classes. Some of us aren't even sure what we want to do and some classes aren't offered for what we want to do. Everyone has required set of foundation classes and almost nobody likes to take classes you're forced to take and further more, if it's something you don't even use later on, it seems like a waste.

    I think this is the main reason, not only reason, before outside influences.

    September 18, 2012 at 4:11 am |
  8. kamarasune

    Its because there is zero innovation and challenge in public schools today, and whats worse is that we know several formulas and solid techniques that have improved children's ability to learn.

    September 18, 2012 at 2:21 am |
  9. Mikaela

    I think that kids skip school because they are lazy and don't care about their furtures. It really is sad that they don't think about making a better tomorrow for themselves, because all of our choices, even the ones we dont think matter still impact us.

    September 17, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  10. Name*whatever

    If it weren't for me skipping school, most of my teachers would have quit & walked out....You're welcome WHS staff!

    September 17, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  11. Apps4u

    From observation, I have a theory that kids skip school for several reasons. They have no interest in learning. They choose to roam and commit crimes. They take their cues from certain rappers. They are hooked on violent video games. Their parents don't instill positive values. Their parents have no idea where the kids go or what they engage in. The parents have abdicated control to the kids. And those parents that do care are forbidden from punishing their own kids as this would interfere with the agenda!

    September 17, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  12. Carmen

    Speaking as a kid who missed 20+ days per school year since the 6th grade all the way through high school, I can tell you for a fact that the reason that I skipped was boredom. And very much unlike this report suggests, I graduated with the top 10% of my class, have gone on to get a Bachelors Degree in Sociology, and am going for my Masters Degree with plans for a PhD. No, I am not incredibly intelligent nor do I have a photographic memory. My poor attendance habits accompanied me all the way until Junior year of college when I found that then was the time that it was important to not miss classes as the material was largely based in lecture (which was a refreshing delight, let me tell you).
    Why was I able to skip all of those days and still be successful? Because the material that was being taught had been taught and re-taught since the fourth grade. Every year something little might be added, but to the best of my knowledge, I did not learning anything new until Freshman year of College, and this is coming from a girl who conquered 5 of the 6 AP classes her high school offered.
    I do not think that poor parenting involvement is the issue here guys, after all, kids are going to try their hardest to make sure that their parents know as little as possible about their personal lives. I firmly believe that the giant elephant in the room is the fact that maybe kids are really bored in school because there is nothing to do. You can only learn about mitosis and meiosis X number of times before you can start feeling your own cells divide and multiply. Maybe we should mix it up and try teaching harder material to younger students.

    September 17, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  13. Chris

    Whats the difference between kids skipping school and teachers forcing kids not to go to school like this chicago strike because they want more money?

    September 17, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  14. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Too many kids are exposed to images of "Gangsta Rappers" who disdain education and sports "Heroes" who cannot put together an articulate sentence making millions of dollars a year. With those as "role models" why should they stay in school when the big money is elsewhere? Whenever I hear about college freshmen basketball or football players putting their names in for a "hardship draft" deciding that going pro beats completing their education, you have to wonder about the job that their coaches are not doing, and what kind of signal it sends. Frankly, I would love to see the NCAA put in a rule that for every student that goes pro early, the school loses that scholarship the kid is receiving for what would have been the rest of his academic career. Bet that would make the boosters pay more attention to the "student" part of "student athlete" instead of allowing the NCAA Div 1A schools to be the minor leagues for the NBA and the NFL.

    September 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
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    50%?

    September 17, 2012 at 4:15 am |
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    September 16, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  17. Justin

    i skip school but i still pass everything. just cant stand half the kids in my class

    September 16, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  18. Sunnye

    Just playing hooky? It wasn't that simple for me. I missed a lot of days because of social anxiety. I really struggled with the social aspect of school. I was viewed as an undisciplined student, but in actuality, I was dealing with undiagnosed Asperger's Syndrome and selective mutism. Sometimes you need to go a bit deeper to find the true cause of a particular behavior.

    September 16, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  19. nnika

    i never skipped school i actually liked learning. still do i supose that's why i have a master's degree. if i could afford it i would go back and get my phd. i never understood those kids who skipped some classes but then would go to others. i figured why show up at all if you only going to come part-time. things were horrible at home for me often times more then not so school and sports was my escape. i knew from an early age that education was going to be my ticket and best chance out of poverty. kids seem to think that its the teacher's job to be their source of entertainment. well its not@! their job is to teach and a student's job to learn. my ex and i instilled this in our kids are a very young age. we would turn the tv off and sometimes strip away the toys. and we would tell our kids to go read a book, go be silent with your own thoughts. we are not your source of enterntainment. silence is golden. my oldest just started college this year and she loves to read! go figure. and my youngest just started high school. she's been a straight a student for the last 5 yrs. it starts at home folks with the parents. everyone wants freedom and choices but they dont want to take responsibility for their own choices. freedom aint really free people before you shed blood, sweat, tears for us to have the choces we have today. lets stop squandering them.

    September 16, 2012 at 6:51 am |
  20. Portland tony

    Back in the day, I and some friends would skip school once in awhile. But living in NYC, there were days we wouldn't think about missing ....The Regents test days. Moving as I did, I never ever missed football or basketball practice. Besides being fun...The penalties were too great ....not starting in real games, lot of extra laps or Sprints and lots of flack from team mates. Point being, kids will find away to get to class if they like the subject/teacher or the penalty for missing the class outweighs cutting the class q

    September 15, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  21. Rob

    You're young and unfocused. At that age anything out of the ordinary is inticing to you. Let's face it, day in and day out routines become boring, and being graded for not knowing/understanding certain concepts can stress a child/adolescent early in life to where they resent the school hallways even more.
    The main reason kids skip school is simply because they just wish not to be in school. Everyone needs a break once in a while from the norm, kids have more pressure in this high tech, sophisticated, error unacceptable world. Kids are forced to learn but theyd rather be kids and do what kids do best, "playing". Who can blame them? Eventually they will grow up and have the rest of their lives to work, paying taxes, and opening bills. What do I know? I'm a prime example.

    September 15, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • phydo

      So we should start kindergarten at age 18?

      September 17, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  22. Kevin

    When I was back in High School, people I knew would skip school with out their parents knowing because of family issues. Their parents would not let them see certain friends, they felt locked up at home so skipping school for a day was a nice treat to them.

    September 14, 2012 at 9:22 pm |