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 10 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, according to a news release from the representatives.
The Department of Education found that nearly 8 million students were chronically absent during the 2015-2016 school year, making up 15 percent of the total student population. Students who are chronically absent are 68 percent less likely than other students to graduate high school, according to the release.
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.