Date of Award
University or Center
Atlanta University (AU)
School of Education
Purpose of Study The purpose of the study was to investigate the incidence of teacher absenteeism in the Dade County School System for the 197.5-76 and 1976-77 years. Specifically, the study sought to determine (1) the relationship of teacher absences between the secondary and elementary schools; (2) the relationship of teacher absences between secondary and elementary schools located in medium and low-income areas; (3) the relationship of absences among Black, White, and Hispanic teachers; (4) the performance between students taught in schools having a high or low absentee rate of teachers;and (.5) the causes of teacher absences between secondary and elementary schools.
Methodology The procedure consisted of (0 a review of related literature; (2) identification of the prospective respondents for the study (40 principals and 800 teachers); (3) development and administration of a questionnaire to the study population; (4) use of a computer programmer (V06 and S02) for tabulating and coding the data furnished by the returned questionnaires; (.5) analysis of the data; and (6) report of the findings, conclusions, and ,recommendations.
Summary of Findings
Data provided by the respondents in this study indicated that: 1. The rate of teacher absences in secondary schools is as great as the rate of teacher absences in elementary schools.
2. Elementary and secondary schools located in low-income areas have the same rate of teacher absences as compared to secondary and elementary schools located lin medium-income areas. However, the rate of teacher absences is very low among the elementary schools in both groups.
3. It was found that Black teachers were absent less than White and Hispanic teachers, White teachers were absent less than Hispanic teachers in secondary schools only, and Hispanic teachers were absent less than both Black and White teachers in elementary schools.
4. The performance of students taught in schools identified as having a low absentee rate was average and above the national norm, while the performance of students taught in schools identified as having a high absentee rate was just the opposite. Additionally, student scores (Stanford Achievement Test) in schools located in medium, income areas were far greater than the student scores in schools located in low-income areas.
5. Findings indicated that teachers in the secondary schools were absent for the same reasons as teachers in the elementary schools.
Conclusions The limitations of using a selected sample of only forty (40) schools and six hundred (600) teachers in the Dade County Public Schools must temper the conclusions. With this restraint, the following conclusions seem justified.
Black, White, and Hispanic teachers were absent much more in the secondary schools than the elementary schools. Moreover, the average rate of teacher absences was considerably higher in the junior high schools than the senior high and elementary schools. Teachers assigned to secondary and elementary schools - located in the medium-income area - tended to have a better attendance record than those teachers assigned to schools located in low-income areas.
When the teacher sample was isolated by race, the rate of absences of White teachers was greater in schools located in low-income areas rather than schools located in medium-income areas. Hispanic teachers recorded a much lower average rate of absences in selected schools than Black and White teachers in the same schools.
The performance of students appeared not to be affected by the high average labsentee rate of teachers in the medium-income areas secondary and elementary schools, but the performance of students seemed to be affected in the low-income area secondary and elementary schools.
Sample teachers responded to the following reasons for being absent: (1) illness self, (2) illness of relative, (3) illness of others, (4) approved meetings, (.5) vacation, :(6) size of school, (7) location of school, (8) salary, and (9) personal leave. Illness of self was ranked number one followed by personal leave, illness of others, and approved meetings. According to teachers' response, location of school was the least reason for I being absent. In other words, it simply indicated that the demographic location or distance to the school was not a major factor given for being absent from school. Finally, the study accepted Hypotheses 1, 2, 3, and .5 and rejected Hypothesis 4. Further, the study found the following factors to be major impediments to students' performance:
1. That White teachers assigned to low-income area schools were more frequently absent than Black and Hispanic teachers in the same schools.
2. That students' performance in the same schools showed a significant decline.
Recommendations 1. Establishing by the administration, an effective accountability model, making teachers a part of that process.
2. Identifying master teachers in the system and paying (rewarding) them for their expertise, if assigned to schools reflecting high degrees of teacher absenteeism. This can be done with salary supplements, compensatory time, and improved working conditions.
3. Posting the lowest, highest, and average days absent of teachers monthly at ,each school, similar to the posting of student absences.
4. Analyzing data of teacher absenteeism should include the average days absent from each school instead of the percentages of absences.
5. Providing the school board and administration with special needs allocation to the schools reflecting poor achievement and teacher absentee trends to allow schools to improve and complement their efforts.
6. Conducting further nonstatistical and descriptive study as to allow the researcher to get into nuances of underlying factors behind teacher absenteeism.
Strachan, Richard J., "A study of the incidence of teacher absenteeism in the Dade County Public Schools for 1975- 76 and 1976- 77 years" (1977). ETD Collection for AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library. 1573.