So-called study on teacher absenteeism another attempt to bash educators

Report draws unwarranted conclusions about absences, attacks teachers for sick days

A far-right funded report attacking teachers for paid sick days was aimed at discrediting teachers and unions rather than providing an unbiased analysis of the data, an academic review has determined.

The study conducted by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute (read about the group) makes unwarranted conclusions about teacher absences and ultimately attacks teachers for using their paid sick and personal days. The report also provides very little evidence for its findings and ignores large bodies of contradictory research. Furthermore, it ignores the growing nationwide trend of schools working to improve work environments for teachers and find solutions that offer better job satisfaction.

Read the Review

The review of the Fordham study by the National Education Policy Center points out important flaws in its assertion that teacher absenteeism is to blame for low student achievement and is costing taxpayers billions of dollars:

  • The report says teacher absenteeism costs taxpayers $4 billion annually, but offers no evidence.
  • The report also claims frequent absentee rates for teachers in non-union charter schools are lower than teachers with union contracts, yet fails to acknowledge the wide body of research on high teacher turnover in charter schools.
  • Finally, the report concludes that union contracts are overly generous with paid sick and personal days and these benefits in union contracts should be reduced. The report appears to be aimed more at undermining union agreements than presenting an unbiased data review.

Furthermore, the academic review found the Fordham report doesn’t offer sufficient evidence for its claims, uses misleading terminology and aims to discredit the teaching profession as a whole, such as defining “chronic absenteeism” as missing 10+ days of work, while the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) states the minimum standard is 18 days.

Read the original study, Teacher Absenteeism in Charter and Traditional Public Schools.

The review was commissioned by NEPC with funding from the Great Lakes Center