Skipping Surge: Data shows a rise in absenteeism for Eastern Oregon students

EASTERN OREGON — Data from the Oregon Department of Education shows that students across eastern Oregon students missed school more often than the national average last year. 

According to the latest data compiled by the American Enterprise Institute from 40 states and Washington, D.C., about 26% of public school students nationwide were considered chronically absent last school year, marking an increase from 15% before the pandemic. 

In Oregon, the state’s most recent annual report card reveals that approximately 38% of students statewide were chronically absent during the 2022-2023 academic year.

Chronic absence is typically defined as missing at least 10% of the school year, or about 18 days, for any reason.

The report’s data shows that the majority of school districts throughout Oregon exhibit attendance rates lower than the national average. However, among nearly 200 districts, approximately 20 either met or surpassed the national average for attendance rates. 

Additionally, a few districts experienced improvements in attendance from 2019 to 2023.

Harney County Union High School District, which includes Crane High School, had the worst of chronic absenteeism in the state with 57.4% in 2023. Arlington School District in Gilliam County had the second worst rate at 56.9%.

Other local school districts included in the top ten of worst percentages include Prairie City and Mitchell.

Eastern Oregon school districts that saw improvements include Harper and North Powder.

Larger local districts that are above the average include Pendleton (41.9%), Hermiston (40.5%), Harney County SD3 (39.7%), La Grande (33.8%), and Grant County (29.6%). 

Ontario (22.9%) and Baker (18.9%) were below the national average.  You can find your local school by downloading the data below.