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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida teachers have one of nation's lowest absentee rates



A recent report using federally collected data shows that more than a third of teachers in the country miss at least 10 days of their 180-day school year. In some states, such as Rhode Island and Hawaii, about half of all teachers miss that many days.

That's not the case in Florida, though. Just 29.1 percent of Florida teachers were found to have missed 10 or more days, better than all but Utah, South Dakota and Delaware. Researchers speculated in USA Today that some teachers might be taking fewer days off because they fear losing their jobs in recessionary times.

But what's key, they said, is that time in front of teachers matter, so absenteeism is critical, whether teachers or students.

"Everybody basically accepts (that) teachers are the most important school-based resource affecting student achievement," Raegen Miller of Teach For America told USA Today. "Well, if that's true, we ought to be paying a lot more attention to the students' actual exposure to teachers."

For the record, Florida defines habitual truancy for students as 15 unexcused absences in 90 calendar days.

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 9:52am]


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