Metro

16 percent of R.I. kindergartners chronically absent

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A children’s advocacy agency has found that 16 percent of kindergarten students in Rhode Island were absent at least 18 days during the 2013-14 school year. Rhode Island Kids Count found that rates of chronic absenteeism are high in kindergarten and lower in early elementary school. The rates rise again in middle and high school. A policy analyst for the organization said the 16 percent figure for kindergarten students is unchanged from the previous year. Stephanie Geller said it is a concern because chronic absenteeism is linked to lower levels of achievement in later grades. The organization also found that 19 percent of low-income students in kindergarten through third grade were chronically absent.