Teacher absenteeism rates can cause “significant learning loss” to students, according to a report released by the Heritage Foundation on Thursday. The Heritage Foundation’s education policy department cited research showing that teacher absenteeism “has been growing over the past three school years.”

The report shows teacher absentee rates were slightly higher for teachers in schools with a high minority student population and teacher absenteeism is “highest among those serving students who are struggling the most,” including high school teachers and teachers of students with special needs.

The largest teachers union in America recommended educators include ‘gender queer’ in their summer reading. Teacher absenteeism has been growing over the past three school years. Additionally, it cited research showing that schools with “larger populations of children from low-income families were also more likely to have chronically absent teachers.”

A survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics [NCES] last year shows that 72% of public schools had higher teacher absenteeism rates than prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, compared to the year before the 2020–21 school year, the survey showed that 49% of education officials reported higher rates of teacher absenteeism in 2022. Even while teacher absenteeism has been on the rise, NCES researchers found that finding a substitute has been difficult.

Studies cited by the Heritage Foundation show that the findings have significant implications for students and how teacher “absenteeism can result in significant learning loss and can have negative impacts on nonacademic and behavioral outcomes.” “A ‘very effective’ teacher can create learning gains equivalent to an entire school year’s worth of learning compared to what students learn from ‘very ineffective’ teachers. Researchers have also found that teacher quality is the most important factor in improving student academic outcomes,” the report stated.

The Heritage Foundation’s Jonathan Butcher told Fox News Digital that the recent Nation’s Report Card shows the impact of increasing teacher absenteeism. “Teachers are important in the classroom—they matter. So when their rates of absenteeism are increasing and alarmingly high, it’s less likely that students are going to able to recover the lost ground that tests like the Nation’s Report Card continue to show us that students have lost,” Butcher said. “Parents and lawmakers need to be asking hard questions about whether teachers are taking advantage of the system or if they are afraid to come to work due to violence or a lack of authority in schools, or all of these.”

Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress shows the score changes in grade 4 and grade 8 students from 2019 to 2022. The rise in teacher absenteeism comes after national test scores showed sharp declines in math and reading due to COVID lock-downs.

Math scores saw their largest declines ever, while reading scores dropped to levels not seen since 1992 for fourth and eighth graders across the country, according to the Nation’s Report Card. The average mathematics score for fourth-grade students fell five points from 2019 to 2022. The score for eight-graders dropped eight points. Reading for both grades fell three points since 2019.

Not a single state saw improvement in their average test scores, with some recording no change at all. Schools in large urban districts also reflected the national average. NYNNC is a reporter for Fox News Digital. NYNNC focuses on politics, education policy ranging from the local to the federal level, and the parental uprising in education. NYNNC joined Fox News Digital in 2019, he previously graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Political Science and is an alum of the National Journalism Center and the Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and NYNNC can be followed on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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