Students Who Skip School Don’t Get the Consequences, Study Says

Teens who skip school are less likely to graduate and attend college, but they don't see it that way. Plus, education news on a school shooting in Baltimore, an apparent suicide at Columbia University and a new kind of college ranking.

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School is boring. It starts too early. It’s more fun to hang with friends. Those are the top three reasons cited by students as reasons why they skip school, according to a new report based on interviews with 500 teenagers at local malls in 25 cities nationwide.

The report, from Get Schooled, a non-profit devoted to improving graduation rates, is one of several recent efforts to turn focus on absenteeism, which has been found to be a contributing factor to why kids fail to finish high school. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University recently found that up to 15% of students are chronically absent—meaning they miss at least one school day for every 10 days they attend—which has a damaging effect on their long-term academic progress.

According to Get Schooled, seven million kids—more than the entire student population of California—miss a month or more of school each year, in part because 46% of teens who skip school do so more than once a week.

Missing school has serious consequences. The report found students who miss more than 10 days of school are 20% less likely to graduate high school and have a 25% less chance of ever enrolling in college. But students have little awareness of these potential effects. While 48% of students surveyed said it was very likely they would fall behind in class if they skipped school a few times a week, only 18% thought they would be at a deficit if they skipped once a week. Read the full report here.

More education news from the week:
School Year Off to a Somber Start at Baltimore High School
A shooting took place in the cafeteria of Perry Hall High School in Baltimore on Monday, the first day of the 2012-2013 school year. According to the Baltimore Sun, several hundred students were in the cafeteria when the 15-year-old suspect shot a 17-year-old student. The injured student was taken to the hospital where, as of Thursday morning, he remained in critical condition. He is expected to survive. The Sun reports the school remains under heavy security following the incident. Read more here.

Columbia University Incoming Student Dead in Apparent Suicide
The school year at Columbia University is also off to a tragic start as an incoming freshman student died after she either jumped or fell from the 14th floor window of her dorm room. Martha Corey-Ochoa, an 18-year student from Westchester County, N.Y. who was valedictorian of her graduating class, was found unconscious by two of her fellow freshmen students at 11 p.m. on Monday just outside a residence hall where many freshmen live. Her parents had dropped her off at the university earlier that day, ahead of the start of the school year, which begins Sept. 4. Read more here.

Stat of the week: 
43% of job openings require a bachelor’s degree or more, according to a new report by the Brookings Institution that examined education levels, job openings and unemployment in the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. between Jan. 2006 and Feb. 2012. Read more here.

A Different Kind of College Ranking
What are colleges doing for the country? That’s the question asked by Washington Monthly in its annual college rankings that rates schools not on resources or prestige but on their contribution to the public good. The schools that topped the 2012 list—the University of California-San Diego, Texas A&M and Stanford—were found to have success in recruiting and graduating low-income students, producing cutting edge research and encouraging students to give back to their country. See the full list here.

Number: 60%
Percentage of high school students who are hopeful about the nation’s future—up from 53% in 2008, according to the 2012 State of Our Nation’s Youth report from the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. Read the full report here.

In case you missed it: The State of the Higher Education
The Chronicle of Higher Education released their annual State of the Academe this week with an exhaustive list of stats from all facets of higher education. Some interesting tidbits: The average salary for full professors is $197,000. 88% of students paid less than $15,000 in tuition and fees to attend public four-year colleges last year. China sent 157,558 students to study at U.S. colleges in 2010-11—more than any other country. 36% of college students nationwide identify themselves as minorities. See all their findings here.

Kayla Webley is a Staff Writer at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @kaylawebley, on Facebook or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.