Monday, March 02, 2009

‘Tidal wave’ of homeless students hits schools

In Vista, Calif., about 35 miles north of San Diego, the population of homeless kids in the local school district reached 2,542 this year — about 9 percent of the student body and nearly 10 times the number just two years ago. . . .

In a voluntary survey late last year by the association and another nonprofit, First Focus, 330 school districts reported that the number of homeless students appears to be . . . now close to 1 million — exceeding numbers in the period right after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita . . . .

Fearing the loss of their kids, she said, "parents call in and say their kid won't be in school because they are going to Disneyland for a week, when the fact is that (they) don’t have a way to get them to school. Or parents will tell kids to lie about where they live."

Interestingly, one of the ways I help my students understand the difference between the way poor parents and middle-class parents relate to schools is to ask my students how many of them would be worried that a teacher might report them to social services and take their kids away. Lareau's study showed this was a common fear of working-class parents. Almost none of my students ever raise their hands.


Anonymous said...

An outsider might not recognize the difference between our student body today and in August, before the downturn hit here, and today. The demographic numbers are comparable.

But there is no comparison between the challenges we faced in the fall and the challenges today. It happens this quickly every time the economy collapses.

This dynamic SHOULD be so obvious. If nothing ese, ask the kids whats on their minds.

This is just one more reason why "reformers" need to spend time with real, flesh and blood students and parents.

Barbara Stengel said...

Glad you posted this, Aaron, and that Ken has it going on DailyKos. I've been emailing it all over the place today.

Anonymous said...