A new statewide council wants to find ways to prevent Iowa kids from missing too much school.
The Chronic Absenteeism Advisory Council is made up of 30 members from the Branstad Administration, the legislature, Iowa schools, and non-profits.
Jean Kresse of United Ways of Iowa will sit on the council. She says this is an issue for many children, especially from low-income families.
"Children can't afford to lose this time, especially in those early years when reading instruction is central to their curriculum," says Kresse. "We also believe that schools cannot do this work in isolation. Communities must come together collectively and find solutions that work."
Kresse adds that it shouldn't be assumed that a parents of a child who is chronically absent doesn't care.
Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 10 percent or more schools days for any reason. That equates to nearly a month of learning.