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PHILADELPHIA - Up to 7.5 million students miss nearly a month of school each year, making them much more likely to drop out before they graduate, according to a new national report.

What is more startling is that only six states track chronic absenteeism in schools, according to a study by Johns Hopkins University researchers released Thursday at events in Philadelphia and Washington.

“No one is measuring this most fundamental thing - are kids attending school regularly?’’ said Robert Balfanz, one of the Johns Hopkins researchers who worked on the study. “You can’t even analyze what’s working in closing the achievement gap without looking first at chronic absenteeism.’’


The study marks the first time researchers have tracked the prevalence of students who habitually miss school.

The researchers estimate that up to 15 percent of students nationally are considered chronically absent.

That rises to one-third of students in urban and rural areas, where students may be poor and come from families with little education.