To help the growing number of homeless students stay on track, the U.S. Department of Education released guidance to states and school districts. It highlights the new provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act for supporting homeless youth.
U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr., said, “Homeless children and youth face a number of barriers to getting the education they deserve and the services they need to succeed in school and beyond.”
Student homelessness is increasing, according to a recent report by the nonpartisan advocacy group Civic Enterprises. During the 2013-14 school year, an estimated 1.3 million students were homeless — a 7 percent increase from the previous year.
That estimate, certainly an undercount, is double the homeless student rate seven years ago. It’s a problem that disproportionately affects students of color and those who identify as LGBT.
Some homeless students overcome the challenges, even managing to earn valedictorian honors on graduation day. But in the vast majority of cases, these young people tend to lag significantly in the academic and socio-emotional areas of their life. They also tend to slip further behind with every move, the department noted.
King’s parents died when he was a child, causing him to move frequently in his youth. So, he understands how instability affects homeless students.
“I know from my own experience and from my conversations with homeless students that school can save lives,” King stated. “It is our hope that the guidance we are releasing today will serve as a tool to help states and districts better serve homeless children and youth – we can and we must do better.”
The new provisions go into effect on Oct. 1.
SOURCE: Dept. of Education | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter