The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed students' school experience, and some continue to face obstacles to attending.
We surveyed teachers nationwide to learn about students who never showed up for class in the 2020-21 school year and found that:
- Nearly half of public school teachers had students who were registered but never showed up
- Students who never showed up came mostly from majority non-White and urban schools
- Obstacles such as limited support or no adult assistance at home kept students from showing up
- For older students, caring for a family member or working were major obstacles to showing up
Reissued with Revisions Apr 19, 2022
Revised April 19, 2022. Additional information about how GAO estimated the number of unaccounted-for students has been added to page 2.
What GAO Found
Nearly half of K-12 public school teachers had at least one student who never showed up for class in the 2020-21 school year. The majority of these teachers said that, compared to a typical year, they had more students who never showed up for class. A variety of obstacles kept students from showing up, including limited or no adult assistance at home and competing demands on students' time such as providing care to a family member. These students predominately came from majority non-White and urban schools.
Why GAO Did This Study
The CARES Act includes a provision for GAO to report on its ongoing monitoring and oversight efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of GAO's body of work to understand the impact of COVID-19 on public K-12 education, GAO contracted with Gallup to conduct a nationally representative survey of public school teachers about their experiences during the 2020-21 school year on a variety of topics. This report provides information on (1) how widespread was the issue of K-12 public school students not showing up for class in school year 2020-21, (2) obstacles these students faced in showing up, and (3) the characteristics of the schools these students were registered to attend.
For more information, contact Jacqueline M. Nowicki at (617) 788-0580 or firstname.lastname@example.org