Public schools

Pop Quiz: Who Skips School More Often, Students or Teachers?

The answer may surprise you. (Or not)

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Classroom
Marlith / Wikimedia Commons

Teachers in the San Francisco Unified School District are absent from class more frequently than students, according to a report by SFGate:

While absenteeism is usually considered a student matter, in San Francisco—and many other districts—the average teacher misses more school than the average child.

If last year's numbers hold steady, the 4,100 teachers in San Francisco, on average, will each be absent about 11 times this school year, about once every three weeks. That's four to five days more than a typical student, out of 180 days total.

About seven of those days were for sick or personal leave, and the rest were training days offered or required by the district.

While the teacher absentee rate is about average, or even a smidge below average, for large urban districts across the country, it's a lot higher than other industries, where the typical worker takes about four sick or personal days over an entire year.

Does that seem like a lot of missed days? Maybe, maybe not—although it is important to remember that teachers already get more "off" time than other professions, thanks to summer break. Even so, San Francisco's numbers clearly aren't as bad as many other districts:

Twenty percent of San Francisco teachers were absent three days or fewer in 2012-2013, according to the national report, which analyzed data from 40 urban districts.

"One in 5 is doing a great job of being there every day," said Waymack, a former San Francisco school district administrator. …

But 13 percent of the district's teachers were chronically absent, missing more than 18 days out of 180—one, two or three days at a time. Those on disability or maternity leave were not included in that count.

"I think that is a lot," Waymack said.

Yet it's actually lower than the norm across the 40 districts studied, where 16 percent were chronically absent.

Full report here.

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  1. Why does reason hate substitute teachers?

  2. Can we start locking up parents of teachers for truancy?

    1. That was my first thought, as well.

    2. We’ll only truly reach civilization when we start locking up everyone, for any reason, randomly… oh, wait…

  3. Those on disability or maternity leave were not included in that count.

    How many are on fake disability?

  4. Teachers get paid for their absences. This is simple economics.

    1. Teachers and substitutes get paid for teachers absences.

  5. While the teacher absentee rate is about average, or even a smidge below average, for large urban districts across the country, it’s a lot higher than other industries, where the typical worker takes about four sick or personal days over an entire year.

    To be fair, the typical worker’s “products” aren’t snotty, drooling, fecal-ridden bags of pus.

    1. That’s an interesting point. I wonder how the absentee rate compares for people who work in rendering plants or sewers.

      1. Comparing the rate against healthcare workers would be fair.

        1. Not really. I’d be more likely to believe that a healthcare worker was actually sick.

  6. There are 260 M-F work days. How many federal holidays? 10, plus add thursday before xmas. So 249 days available for work (not including sick and vacation time).

    The school years is 180-185 for students. How many more for teachers? 10-15? So teachers have 200 days available for work (not including sick or vacation).

    Nice gig, especially that salary arguments about how poorly teachers are paid seem to gloss over the work days difference.

    1. Old derp, but applicable:

      Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or10 months a year! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do – babysit!
      We can get that for less than minimum wage.

      That’s right. Let’s give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan– that equals 6 1/2 hours).

      Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day…maybe 30? So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day.
      However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.
      LET’S SEE….
      That’s $585 X 180= $105,300
      per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).

      What about those special
      education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an
      hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year.
      Wait a minute — there’s
      something wrong here! There sure is!
      The average teacher’s salary
      (nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days
      = $277.77/per day/30
      students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student–a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!) WHAT A DEAL!!!!

      1. Shit, didn’t realize how long it was.

      2. -a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!) WHAT A DEAL!!!!

        Especially the part where you not hiring them to do it results in you being fined or jailed! Where do I sign up!!?

  7. Irony Alert: reading this while skipping school.

  8. About seven of those days were for sick or personal leave, and the rest were training days offered or required by the district.

    My mom was a TA for retarded students, and when there was a staff training day it was an off day for the students.

  9. About seven of those days were for sick or personal leave, and the rest were training days offered or required by the district.

    You can say that teachers get too much time off and that their benefits should be reduced, but in the mean time, referring to taking approved vacation as “absenteeism” is deliberately misleading.

  10. I like the way that looks.

    http://www.AnonWays.tk

  11. Why aren’t the “training days offered or required by the district” offered on weekends or during breaks?

    1. I came to the comments to say that…

    2. Is that what goes on in the business world? You do your job all week and then attend training (on your own time) on the weekend? Really?

      1. The only job that I had that required training, yes, they scheduled it during my time off.

  12. In the business world if I attend training as part of my job duties I am certainly not considered “absent.” Yet that is the standard you are holding teachers to in this case. Pretty clear where the bias lies in this article.

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