Congressman Tim Ryan Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Combat Chronic School Absenteeism | Congressman Tim Ryan
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Congressman Tim Ryan Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Combat Chronic School Absenteeism

September 5, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) 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. To view the full text of the bill, click here.

“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,” said Congressman Ryan.

“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,” said Congresswoman Herrera Beutler.

 “It is essential that students are in school every day and that they receive the support they need to learn, grow and thrive,” said Leslie Boggs, president of National PTA, the nation’s oldest and largest child advocacy association. “Our association recognizes that to reduce chronic absenteeism, the issue must be addressed at the local level because of variations in causes. We are pleased to support the Chronic Absenteeism Act and applaud Representatives Ryan and Herrera Beutler for introducing the bill to help combat chronic absenteeism at the school level.” 

“When students see school as a place where they belong, and when they believe it provides a safe and welcoming environment for them to grow and learn, that’s when they’ll show up. But those supportive conditions don’t happen automatically. They take a concerted effort, and schools are working hard to get this right. To ensure their hard work pays off, federal investment is sorely needed,” said Joan Cole Duffell, Executive Director of Committee for Children.

“Relationships matter to all of us, but for a young person, at the height of development, positive relationships can be the key to success,” said David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. “Mentors, alongside parents, guardians, teachers, and school staff help students build social-emotional skills, validate identity and create consistency and provide helpful navigation. This is especially important for students facing the most challenges and is powerful in closing persistent gaps that have less to do with student talent and more to do with support and opportunity. We appreciate and applaud Rep. Ryan and Rep. Herrera Beutler for their commitment to creating relationship-rich environments for students and elevating mentoring as a data-backed solution to chronic absenteeism. The CARES Act is a testament to a shared commitment to showing up for our young people so they can show up for school, strive, and thrive.”

“Students who are chronically absent from school are missing out on critical learning opportunities – socially, emotionally, and academically – that they need to be successful in school and in their futures. We know that these youth need supporting and caring adults who understand their particular context to more fully engage in the learning process.  We applaud Representatives Ryan and Herrera Beutler for introducing this bill to systematically help the youth who need the support to be successful in school.” Said Nick Yoder, Director of Policy and Practice, Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL).