Teachers-FeaturedJEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Everyone knows the high school tradition of playing “hooky,” but could the attendance issue be starting earlier than expecting with students. A new report from Attendance Works definitely points in that direction.

The report suggested that nearly ten percent of kindergarteners and first grade students will miss nearly a month of school, enough to make a significant impact on academic performance. Attendance Works is a California based company that looks at trends in attendance gaps across the United States.

Director of Attendance Works Hedy Chang, said if that attendance gap continues to grow at a young age, it will became a larger problem down the road.

“Now by third grade, you may show up, but now you can’t read and so you’re falling behind even though you’re in the classroom,” Chang said. “Now you’re in middle school, and they don’t like school, it’s not a positive place for them, so they may act out.”

Chang said these issues beginning at such a young age only compound as children get older. While older kids are more likely to skip school by choice, Chang explained younger children usually are not in control of the circumstances.  Attendance Works recommends schools and districts to assess the issue and find solutions.

The report revealed locally in Missouri, absence from class takes the biggest tolls on students from low income families.

“Both the consequences are grater because they depend on school to learn and read, but they also are facing these pretty significant barriers,” Chang said.

State data suggests, last year alone, Missouri had one of the worst attendance records for full-day kindergarten.