There’s a great piece in the NYT about the challenge facing school districts burdened with a surging number of homeless kids:
Charity is one child in a national surge of homeless schoolchildren that is driven by relentless unemployment and foreclosures. The rise, to more than one million students without stable housing by last spring, has tested budget-battered school districts as they try to carry out their responsibilities — and the federal mandate — to salvage education for children whose lives are filled with insecurity and turmoil.
The instability can be ruinous to schooling, educators say, adding multiple moves and lost class time to the inherent distress of homelessness. And so in accord with federal law, the Buncombe County district, where Charity attends, provides special bus service to shelters, motels, doubled-up houses, trailer parks and RV campgrounds to help children stay in their familiar schools as the families move about.
There’s a lot we could do in the United States to improve the quality of education that kids coming from troubled households receive. But it’s an inherently challenging enterprise, far beyond the task of teaching to kids who have a stable home to reliably return to every night. And there’s also a lot we could be doing to directly cut down on the number of children in poverty.