According to a new study from the University of Chicago, approximately 4.2 million young people experience unaccompanied homelessness in the course of a year. While these students often hide their situations as best they can, the report reveals they often miss school or frequently switch schools, which results in lower graduation rates. NPR covered the report, and its implications in this recent article.
The lead researcher on the report, Matthew Morton, stresses that youth who miss school due to homelessness miss an important time in the development of skills that will help them succeed in life. “Every day of homelessness is a missed opportunity to support their healthy development and also their capacity to contribute to stronger communities and local economies,” he said.
Ensuring homeless students get the education they deserve and support they need is something districts are tasked with doing, but many may not be prepared for these challenges. According to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001, each “State educational agency shall ensure that each child of a homeless individual and each homeless youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as provided to other children and youths.”
PublicSchoolWORKS has several courses for teachers and administrators to help schools better understand how homelessness creates barriers to education, how to respond to it and how to best help support students experiencing it. To learn how these courses can help your district better support students in need, contact us today.