MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While seniors in high school will usually enjoy one “skip day,” there is a growing problem of chronic absenteeism across the country.

Johns Hopkins University researchers found that up to 7.5 million students miss nearly a month of school each year. Researchers also found that only the states of Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Nebraska, Oregon, and Rhode Island actually track absenteeism.

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“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.”

Students in more rural and urban areas were at the highest risk of missing class. Researchers estimated up to 15 percent of students nationally are chronically absent. The chronic absenteeism rate in rural and urban areas jumps to 33 percent.

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Researchers classified chronically absent as missing roughly 10 percent of the school year, or roughly one month. Researchers found some schools had the equivalent of entire classrooms of students missing that much or more every year.

“The research shows that we must address the attendance problem if we are going to have the kind of broader school improvement we want and our students deserve,” said Marie Groark, executive director of Get Schooled, an education nonprofit that paid for the study.”

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