But individual absences driven by bad weather? Those do end up taking a toll, especially on children’s math performance, according to Goodman’s research.
The idea that snow days would have less of an impact than absences makes some sense given the graph below, which shows how children — especially poor children — tend to miss far more instructional time because they miss class than they do because school is closed. Goodman argues that the results suggest that schools should get busy figuring out how to improve student attendance and how to make sure that teachers have the tools they need to help absent children catch up without slowing down the rest of the class.
Goodman’s research paper, “In Defense of Snow Days,” was published online Thursday and will appear in the summer 2015 issue of Education Next, a journal published by the Hoover Institution.