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.