June 28, 2022

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K-12 Education: An Estimated 1.1 Million Teachers Nationwide Had At Least One Student Who Never Showed Up for Class in the 2020-21 School Year

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<div>What GAO Found Nearly half of K-12 public school teachers had at least one student who never showed up for class in the 2020-21 school year. The majority of these teachers said that, compared to a typical year, they had more students who never showed up for class. A variety of obstacles kept students from showing up, including limited or no adult assistance at home and competing demands on students' time such as providing care to a family member. These students predominately came from majority non-White and urban schools. Why GAO Did This Study The CARES Act includes a provision for GAO to report on its ongoing monitoring and oversight efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of GAO's body of work to understand the impact of COVID-19 on public K-12 education, GAO contracted with Gallup to conduct a nationally representative survey of public school teachers about their experiences during the 2020-21 school year on a variety of topics. This report provides information on (1) how widespread was the issue of K-12 public school students not showing up for class in school year 2020-21, (2) obstacles these students faced in showing up, and (3) the characteristics of the schools these students were registered to attend. For more information, contact Jacqueline M. Nowicki at (617) 788-0580 or nowickij@gao.gov</div>

What GAO Found

Nearly half of K-12 public school teachers had at least one student who never showed up for class in the 2020-21 school year. The majority of these teachers said that, compared to a typical year, they had more students who never showed up for class. A variety of obstacles kept students from showing up, including limited or no adult assistance at home and competing demands on students’ time such as providing care to a family member. These students predominately came from majority non-White and urban schools.

Why GAO Did This Study

The CARES Act includes a provision for GAO to report on its ongoing monitoring and oversight efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of GAO’s body of work to understand the impact of COVID-19 on public K-12 education, GAO contracted with Gallup to conduct a nationally representative survey of public school teachers about their experiences during the 2020-21 school year on a variety of topics. This report provides information on (1) how widespread was the issue of K-12 public school students not showing up for class in school year 2020-21, (2) obstacles these students faced in showing up, and (3) the characteristics of the schools these students were registered to attend.

For more information, contact Jacqueline M. Nowicki at (617) 788-0580 or nowickij@gao.gov

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