Could Inflation Worsen School Absenteeism Rates?

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LOS ANGELES– Inflation isn’t just changing our behavior at the gas pump and grocery store. More teens are working now than before the 2008 financial crisis.1 Some of them are taking advantage of all the higher-paying entry-level jobs, but others are just trying to help their families make ends meet.

As the school year begins, some educators are worried more teens will opt out of school to work, adding to already high absenteeism rates. “We’re definitely seeing more of our students needing to work,” said Lindsay Reese, area superintendent at Learn4Life, a network of 80+ public high schools. More than 80 percent of the school’s students come from low-income households.

When Hayley R. enrolled at Learn4Life she was working and taking care of her younger brother because their parents suffered from addiction. “My biggest challenge was staying in one place long enough to focus on school,” the 17-year-old said. “Attending Learn4Life allowed me to work on my schoolwork whenever and wherever I could,” she explained.

The flexible schedule and extra help at Learn4Life were critical to Hayley’s success — and so many other students who need to work or care for children. Hayley just graduated. She earned a scholarship and is now enrolling in community college.

Learn4Life has offered this personalized learning model for 21 years. The flexible schedules mean students are not required to sit in a classroom all day. Instead, they meet with teachers throughout the week and complete assignments on their own schedule.

Learn4Life’s CTE (Career Technical Education) Programs can help teens gain skills to get higher paying jobs. Learn4Life offers dozens of CTE programs in fields like information technology, healthcare, culinary arts, robotics, construction and veterinary science.