Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Tim Ryan Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Combat Chronic School Absenteeism

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Tim Ryan (D-OH) introduced the bipartisan Chronic Absenteeism Reduction for Every School (CARES) Act, H.R. 4220.  Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing ten percent or more of the school year and has been found to negatively impact school performance, high school graduation rates, and overall student success into adulthood.

The Department of Education found that nearly 8 million students were chronically absent during the 2015-2016 school year. This makes up 15 percent of the total student population and is especially concerning since students who are chronically absent are 68 percent less likely than other students to graduate high school. The Chronic Absenteeism Reduction Act allows for schools to tailor solutions based on why individual or groups of students continue to be absent. The legislation would use existing federal dollars to implement these reforms.

“Sadly, Washington state has one of the worst chronic absenteeism rates in the nation, and we must work to eliminate obstacles keeping students in Southwest Washington from making the most of their school years. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan initiative with my colleague Congressman Tim Ryan that empowers schools to tailor solutions that get students to school, and help them stay in school,” Herrera Beutler said.

“Every child growing up in the United States deserves a quality education, and it’s our job as elected officials to give our kids the resources they need to succeed. But they cannot excel if they aren’t in the classroom in the first place. Chronic absenteeism is a national crisis, and our local educators and policymakers need the necessary tools to track and combat this issue head on. The CARES Act is a much-needed first step to helping put an end to chronic absenteeism and allowing our students to reach their highest potential,” Ryan said.