Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Education Research Report: HOMELESS STUDENTS IN AMERICA’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Education Research Report: HOMELESS STUDENTS IN AMERICA’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS:

HOMELESS STUDENTS IN AMERICA’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS

While student homelessness is on the rise, with more than 1.3 million homeless students identified during the 2013-14 school year,  student homelessness remains an invisible and extremely disruptive problem, compounded by the lack of awareness of the issue in many communities.

Students experiencing homelessness struggle to stay in school, to perform well, and to form meaningful connections with peers and adults. Ultimately, they are much more likely to fall off track and eventually drop out of school than their non-homeless peers. Until this year, states and schools were not even accountable for tracking and making progress on their rates of graduation for homeless students.

Schools are a central touch point for students and their families, with deep roots and connections to the communities they serve. These institutions can function as a hub for quickly identifying homeless students, and connecting them and their families to the organizations and agencies that have the capacity and resources to provide housing, transportation, mental health care, and other tangible and emotional supports that will help students persist in school during these difficult times. Students spend a significant portion of their day in school – and as a result, schools can offer these students a safe and consistent place to study and access to caring adults who can help them navigate some of the challenges they face. In an otherwise chaotic time of homelessness, schools can be pillars of stability.

This study:
  • provides an overview of existing research on homeless students,
  • sheds light on the challenges homeless students face and the supports they say they need to succeed,
  • reports on the challenges adults – local liaisons and state coordinators – face in trying to help homeless students, and
  • recommends changes in policy and practice at the school, community, state and national level to help homeless students get on a path to adult success.

The Trauma and Disruption of Student Homelessness

Youth interviewed and surveyed for this report overwhelmingly report that homelessness is taking or has taken a significant toll on their lives, their health, their relationships, and their education. 
  • Greater than 8 in 10 (82 percent) of formerly homeless youth say that being homeless had a big impact on their life overall. Majorities of homeless youth cite specific impacts, such as:
  • ||72 percent on their ability to feel safe and secure;
    ||71 percent on their mental and emotional health and 62
  • percent on their physical health; and ||69 percent on their self-confidence.
  • n More than two-thirds (68 percent) cite how homelessness made it difficult to maintain relationships with their own families, and 57 percent cite the same challenge with friends.
  • Sixty-seven percent say homelessness had a big impact on their education, with:
  • ||Six in 10 formerly homeless youth saying it was hard to stay in school while they were homelessand
  • ||68 percent saying it was hard to succeed and do well in school during their homelessness.
  • n Reflecting the impacts of homelessness on a student’s education, 42 percent of youth surveyed told us they had at one or more points dropped out of school.
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These findings bolster existing research showing homeless students are more likely to be held back from grade to grade, be chronically absent, fail courses, have more disciplinary issues, and Education Research Report: HOMELESS STUDENTS IN AMERICA’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS:

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