INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — When talking school attendance, students may be the first to come to mind. But new numbers have put teachers in the attendance spotlight.
According to a report by the National Council on Teacher Quality, Indianapolis Public Schools teachers are passing with flying colors.
Madeline Mason, a Spniah teacher at Harshman Magnet Middle School, said she’s called in sick twice.
“There’s sort of an old teacher saying that it’s actually harder to be absent than it is to be here,” Mason said.
It’s a saying IPS teachers district wide apparently take to heart. In a study of 40 big city school districts for 2012-2013 by the non-partisan research group NCTQ, IPS teachers were in the classroom more than teachers in any other district studied.
“If you miss work as a teacher, sometimes that takes you a few steps back. You have to come in and kind of get the class back in order. You know the sub can’t always work with the students like the classroom teacher can,” Mason said.
IPS teachers missed an average of six days of class for the year. The national average was 11 days. In the worst school district — Cleveland — teachers missed more than 15 days.
“At the end of the day, teachers realize that they need to be there to really have an effect or impact on the learning of their students,” said Teresa Meredith, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association.
ISTA represents more than 45,000 educators statewide. Meredith said the numbers for IPS are strong. She said with some help all districts could get better.
“One way to do that would be really working on teacher morale and building up the profession and supporting educators,” she said.
“Giving them that development and support and get them truly invested and motivated in whatever their school or district vision might be,” she said.
The study also found no relationship between teacher absence and the poverty levels of a school’s students.
The study found that districts with teachers who spend more time in the classroom save more money because they have fewer substitute teachers to pay.