A new study takes a closer look at student absenteeism in city elementary schools.
The report from the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School says it focused on the elementary level because the problem in those schools has been largely overlooked until now.
According to the study, more than 90,000 children in grades K through 5, or about 20 percent, missed at least a month of class during the last school year.
The report says in more than 120 elementary schools, at least 30 percent of the student body was chronically absent.
Absentee problems vary widely – but the study says schools with the highest numbers tend to be in central Brooklyn, Harlem, and the South Bronx.
Researchers say causes range from personal problems to cultural misunderstandings, and that better communication between parents and principals is essential to reducing the problem.
Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott did not dispute the findings, and said the city is already looking into the problem.
"Those schools that may have students who are out for extended periods of time, really bring those students in and work with the community to make sure that those students are in school," said Walcott of the city's plan. "But our goal is to make sure that we improve education so that educational institutions are attractive places for parents and students."
The report also found that 40 percent of high school students and 24 percent of middle school students were absent for at least a month last year.