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‘Tidal wave’ of homeless students hits schools

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ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 11:39 AM
Original message
‘Tidal wave’ of homeless students hits schools

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29356160/print/1/displaymod... /


-snip-

Daniel and his brothers have been sleeping in the garage for more than a year — members of what school officials and youth advocates say is a rapidly growing legion of homeless youth.

While the problem may be worse in economically stricken regions like Southern California, where foreclosures and job losses are taking a harsh toll on families, anecdotal evidence suggests it is a growing issue nationally and one with serious ramifications for both a future generation and the overburdened public school system.

Research shows that the turmoil of homelessness often hinders children’s ability to socialize and learn. Many are plagued by hunger, exhaustion, abuse and insecurity. They have a hard time performing at grade level and are about 50 percent less likely to graduate from high school than their peers.

“Homeless children are confronted daily by extremely stressful and traumatic experiences that have profound effects on their cognitive development and ability to learn,” said Ellen Bassuk, a Harvard Medical School psychiatry professor and president of the nonprofit National Center on Family Homelessness. “They tend to have high rates of developmental delays, learning difficulties and emotional problems as a product of precarious living situations and extreme poverty.”

-snip-

Under federal law, schools are charged with keeping homeless students like Daniel from falling behind their peers academically. This can mean providing a wide range of services, including transportation, free lunches, immunizations and referrals to family services.

But with insufficient federal funding and budgets that are severely strained, many schools are struggling to meet the rising need.

‘It's like a tidal wave’
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, said Rebecca Benner, the district’s homeless liaison.

-snip-

“It’s this year, 2008-2009, that the rug was pulled out from under many school districts,” she said.

Stimulus package to boost funding
Federal funding for schools to provide services for homeless kids is allocated through McKinney-Vento, a 1987 law that was bolstered by the No Child Left Behind legislation of 2002.

“Under McKinney-Vento, every district is required to have a liaison with the responsibility to identify homeless kids,” said Duffield. In addition to the staff, the school districts are responsible for providing a number of services, which can include everything from meals and clothing to athletic uniforms and educational field trips. One of the biggest costs in serving homeless kids is providing transportation to and from school, required even if the kids move out of the immediate area, she said.

-snip-

This year, schools were slated to receive $64 million to aid homeless students under the act. The newly passed federal stimulus package will add $70 million more in funding.

-long snip-

But first and foremost, he dreams of “a very beautiful house … with a room of my own.” The walls would be decorated, he said, “with posters, and pictures that I have drawn, and tests that I did in school.”
-----------------------------------


we are supposed to be the greatest country on earth

at least our Barons think so
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bdamomma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 11:43 AM
Response to Original message
1. damn, I thought our kids deserve better than this.
no thanks to the Bush regime.
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roguevalley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. as we sow the wind, we shall reap the whirlwind.
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crim son Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 11:43 AM
Response to Original message
2. When is our government going to put the peoples' welfare first?
I'm sick of hearing that we must preserve the corporations, that school budgets are being cut, that we cannot afford universal healthcare, and that there are more and more people living in the streets. Meanwhile the oil companies make billions, major CEOs make millions and most of cannot imagine what it's like not to have our cigarettes or booze on hand whenever we crave them.

PEOPLE FIRST. When will it happen?
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Zoeisright Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. I agree. And I don't know.
Maybe everything has to come crashing down and we need to start over. That's the only scenario I can envision.

With as bad as everything was here last year, it wasn't bad enough.
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crim son Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 08:58 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. Some folks seem to be longing for the "good ol' days," don't they? n/t
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 11:44 AM
Response to Original message
3. K&R
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 11:46 AM
Response to Original message
4. Perhaps we should focus on prevention.
It's indefensible that we have so much wealth for so many things, but never enough to provide low-cost housing.
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Why Syzygy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 11:51 AM
Response to Original message
5. May the CEOs
reap their karma 1000 fold.
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enid602 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 12:12 PM
Response to Original message
6. 9%?
Edited on Tue Sep-22-09 12:13 PM by enid602
9% of the students of Vista, CA schools are homeless? I had to read that four times before I could digest it.
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Quantess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Vista, CA is not an anomaly.
I recently read that several school districts in Oregon, for example, have about that rate of homelessness, whether it means sleeping in the car or in Grandma's garage.
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Zix Donating Member (881 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 04:23 PM
Response to Original message
10. Non-American scratching head in amazement here.

How did this happen?
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