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Iowa Schools Work to Make Sure Students Attend

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa schools work to limit truancy because it helps improve results, but some question whether more could be done to reduce chronic absences.

The Des Moines Register reports a group of Iowa United Way chapters plans to ask state lawmakers to require school districts to track chronic absences by school.

Supporters say having that information would help communities develop solutions. Currently, the state relies on average daily attendance figures, which can mask chronic absences.

Frequent absenteeism isn't unusual in Iowa. Nearly one in five high school students in Des Moines missed at least 18 days last year. That's equal to 10 percent of the school year.

The problem is most prevalent at high-poverty schools. Besides Des Moines, high rates of absenteeism were also recorded in Waterloo and Council Bluffs.