Analysis Tracks Teachers’ Use of Discretionary Leave Time
New study examines four years of data from large urban district.
Like professionals in other fields, teachers appear to be dipping into their sick time in order to take care of errands, do the holiday shopping, or extend a weekend, a new analysis of a district’s teacher-absence pattern suggests.
Teachers in the unnamed, large urban district studied were more likely to take “discretionary absences”—either personal days off or sick days attributed to short-term illnesses—right before winter and summer vacations, and on Mondays and Fridays, according to the analysis, released Oct. 24 by the Center for American Progress , a Washington-based think tank.
Teacher absence is correlated with a small but significant decrease in student achievement, and it tends to occur disproportionately in low-income schools. It is also costly: Data from the National Center for Education Statistics put expenditures on substitute teachers at about $4 billion annually—costs typically borne by...
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