Challenges faced by homeless kids

27 May

Moi wrote in 3rd world America: Money changes everything: The increased rate of poverty has profound implications if this society believes that ALL children have the right to a good basic education. Moi blogs about education issues so the reader could be perplexed sometimes because moi often writes about other things like nutrition, families, and personal responsibility issues. Why? The reader might ask? Because children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family. There is a lot of economic stress in the country now because of unemployment and underemployment. Children feel the stress of their parents and they worry about how stable their family and living situation is.

Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation wrote the informative Washington Post article, How to attack the growing educational gap between rich and poor:

In fact, research published by The Century Foundation and other organizations going back more than a decade shows that there are an array of strategies that can be highly effective in addressing the socioeconomic gaps in education:
* Pre-K programs. As Century’s Greg Anrig has noted, there is a wide body of research suggesting that well-designed pre-K programs in places like Oklahoma have yielded significant achievement gains for students. Likewise, forthcoming Century Foundation research by Jeanne Reid of Teachers College, Columbia University, suggests that allowing children to attend socioeconomically integrated (as opposed to high poverty) pre-K settings can have an important positive effect on learning.
* Socioeconomic Housing Integration. Inclusionary zoning laws that allow low-income and working-class parents and their children to live in low-poverty neighborhoods and attend low-poverty schools can have very positive effects on student achievement, as researcher David Rusk has long noted. A natural experiment in Montgomery County, Maryland, showed that low-income students randomly assigned to public housing units and allowed to attend schools in low-poverty neighborhoods scored at 0.4 of a standard deviation higher than those randomly assigned to higher-poverty neighborhoods and schools. According to the researcher, Heather Schwartz of the RAND Corporation, the initial sizable achievement gap between low-income and middle-class students in low-poverty neighborhoods and schools was cut in half in math and by one-third in reading over time.
* Socioeconomic School Integration. School districts that reduce concentrations of poverty in schools through public school choice have been able to significantly reduce the achievement and attainment gaps. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, for example, where a longstanding socioeconomic integration plan has allowed students to choose to attend mixed-income magnet schools, the graduation rate for African American, Latino, and low-income students is close to 90 percent, far exceeding the state average for these groups.
* College Affirmative Action for Low-Income Students. Research finds attending a selective college confers substantial benefits, and that many more low-income and working-class students could attend and succeed in selective colleges than currently do. Research by Anthony Carnevale and Stephen J. Rose of Georgetown University for the Century volume, America’s Untapped Resource: Low-Income Students in Higher Education , found that selective universities could increase their representation from the bottom socioeconomic half of the population from 10 percent to 38 percent, and overall graduation rates for all students would remain the same.
In addition to these ideas, Century Foundation research by Gordon MacInnes has highlighted promising programs to promote the performance of low-income students in New Jersey. Forthcoming research will suggest ways to revitalize organized labor, a development that could raise wages of workers and thereby have a positive impact on the educational outcomes of their children. We will also be exploring ways to strengthen community colleges as a vital institutions for social mobility.

This government, both parties, has failed to promote the kind of economic development AND policy which creates livable wage jobs. That is why Mc Donalds is popular for more than its dollar menu. They are hiring people.

This economy must focus on job creation and job retention and yes, hope. Both for those racing through college and those who have paid their education and training dues. “You deserve a break today at Mc Donalds,” the only employer who seems to be hiring.

Ann Brenoff wrote in the Huffington Post article, 7 Things About Homeless Kids You Probably Didn’t Know:

Here are seven things about being a homeless kid that you probably didn’t know:
1. Making friends is harder when you’re homeless.
Carey Fuller, who lives in her car with her 11-year-old daughter Maggie Warner in the Pacific Northwest, said she “cringed” when she recently took Maggie out to play in a park. Things were going fine until “someone asked her where she lived,” Fuller explained. It’s the death knell question, the one that throws the wet blanket on the playdate and it’s usually just a matter of seconds before the other kid takes off in the direction of someone else….
Fuller became homeless after losing her job in the financial services sector in Seattle. Initially, the family downsized to a smaller apartment, but when that still proved too costly, Fuller bought an RV and moved into it with her two daughters. Maggie was a toddler at the time. The family has since downsized to a minivan. Fuller, who takes whatever part-time work she can find, is well-known as an advocate for homeless kids and writes about her life as a homeless mother living in a van.
2. Birthdays can be disappointing for a homeless kid.
Forget having a big party with lots of friends coming over. Sure you can have a party in the park if it’s a nice day. But who is going to pay for the pizza and cake and if people give you presents, where will you put them anyway?
3. Canned food drives don’t actually make much sense.
“Where are homeless people supposed to cook all those cans of food you collect?” asks Maggie Warner. Homeless people have no kitchens, she points out.
Gift cards or a credit to the grocery store where they can buy fresh fruit and pre-made meals makes more sense. But some donors are reluctant to do this because they think homeless people will use the money for beer or alcohol.
4. Homeless kids aren’t as healthy as kids with homes.
The National Center on Family Homelessness says that homeless kids have four times as many respiratory infections, twice as many ear infections and five times more gastrointestinal problems. They are three times more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems than non-homeless children.
Being homeless is stressful and practicing good hygiene is harder when you don’t have ready access to bathrooms, sinks and showers. Homeless kids are also exposed to the weather and elements. Homelessness is connected to poverty and when you are poor, you often must rely on free clinics for health care; seeing doctors is not a regular thing.
5. Homeless kids may try hard but are more likely to struggle in school.
Of homeless elementary students, only 21.5 percent are proficient in math and 24.4 percent in reading. It is even worse among high school students, where just 11.4 percent are proficient in math and 14.6 percent in reading….
Agnes Stevens, a retired teacher, began tutoring homeless kids in a park in Santa Monica, Calif., encouraging them to stay in school and participate in school activities. In 1993, she founded School on Wheels, a program that tutors homeless kids in six Southern California counties. The organization also provides backpacks, school supplies and school uniforms for homeless kids and helps their parents navigate school resources. The group runs two learning centers too.
6. Homeless kids put up with a lot of daily indignities, small things that you probably don’t realize.
They appreciate getting your used clothing donations, but once in a while they’d like to wear something without some other kid’s name written in it. They also don’t feel great sneaking in the school bathroom before class to brush their teeth, but it’s often the only place available. Maybe there’s a way to issue them a free lunch card that looks like the lunch card everyone else uses? If their family doesn’t have a post office box, it’s hard to mail home their report card. They don’t want everyone to know if the PTA paid for them to go on the class field trip. School projects that involve a trip to the crafts store for supplies pose a special burden on their families who can’t afford it. Participating in sports sounds great, but soccer cleats and baseball uniforms aren’t exactly in the budget. A lost textbook is a problem for a regular kid; a lost textbook is a catastrophe for a homeless kid.
7. Homeless kids are a pretty resilient lot.
When The Huffington Post asked Maggie what she wanted to say to our readers, this is what she said: “Never give up and never stop hoping things will get better even when you feel like you’re at the bottom.”

There is no magic bullet or “Holy Grail” in education. There is only what works to produce academic achievement in each population of children. That is why school choice is so important.


Hard times are disrupting families

3rd world America: The link between poverty and education

3rd world America: Money changes everything

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr.

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