Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Expanding Vouchers and Charter Schools Won’t Address Needs of Homeless Children | janresseger

Expanding Vouchers and Charter Schools Won’t Address Needs of Homeless Children | janresseger:

Expanding Vouchers and Charter Schools Won’t Address Needs of Homeless Children


The November election and the focus of news reporting on President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees have made invisible some of the important challenges for children and their public schools. Those of us concerned about the nation’s roughly 90,000 public schools must, of course, pay attention to Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, and we must come to understand how her beliefs and experience are likely to affect the Department of Education and the schools across America’s neighborhoods.
But anybody who believes that the DeVos-Trump plan for a $20 billion block grant program to expand vouchers and charters will solve the primary challenges for public schools is dreaming. School teachers, social workers and counselors must help children cope with their life circumstances in order that students can learn. Public schools must be equipped to address the needs of the children who walk trough their doors.
The NY Times‘ Kate Taylor reminds us about one of these primary challenges: students “living in a shelter, doubled up with relatives, in a hotel or in other transient circumstances.”  In the New York City Schools, which serve over a million students, a serious problem is that severely disadvantaged students tend to be clustered in the city’s traditional public schools, not in its charters.  Taylor explains: “Last year, 99,196 students in the city’s traditional public schools, or nearly 10 percent of students, were classified as being in temporary housing…. At the same time, 6,249, or roughly 7 percent, in city charter schools were in temporary housing.”
Here is how Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond defines “severe deprivation,” the living conditions of many of these homeless children: “By ‘severe deprivation,’ we mean economic hardship that is (1) acute, (2) compounded, and (3) persistent. Let us unpack these three components. Acute hardship: Life far below the poverty line, characterized by a scarcity of Expanding Vouchers and Charter Schools Won’t Address Needs of Homeless Children | janresseger:


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