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Preschool attendance matters: A look at school absenteeism in Massachusetts pre-K programs and why we need to pay attention to it


This brief examines patterns of absenteeism for students enrolled in public pre-K in the state of Massachusetts (MA). In examining these findings, it is important to note that public pre-K is not universal in MA, enrollment in pre-K is not required, and the pre-K population looks different from the overall public school population. Specifically, students with disabilities make up approximately one-third of the pre-K population in public schools—a figure that drops to 14% in kindergarten. One of the primary reasons for this large difference is because students with disabilities are guaranteed enrollment in public pre-K, which is not the case for students without disabilities. By analyzing data on students who were enrolled in public pre-K between 2011 and 2014, this brief explores the prevalence of absenteeism, the “who” and “where” of absenteeism, and how patterns of absenteeism progress from pre-K through the elementary years. This brief concludes with a discussion of implications during and beyond pre-K for policymakers and practitioners. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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