- Students who miss school regularly, do not get all their homework done, and fall asleep in class may look uninterested in school, but the real problem could be homelessness, which has more than doubled since the 2006-07 academic year.
- In a Q&A with District Administration, chief author of “Hidden in Plain Sight: Homeless Students in America’s Public Schools," Erin Ingram, says the majority of students who are homeless still live with their families, and a disproportionate number of the ones on their own are LGBT.
- Ingram recommends training teachers, bus drivers and cafeteria workers, among others, to recognize and report signs of homelessness, and she suggests schools can help coordinate and advertise a range of community resources to serve this vulnerable population.
The Every Student Succeeds Act made some changes to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which governs school responsibility toward homeless students. It requires schools to make sure liaisons can actually fulfill the obligations of the role. Many schools make guidance counselors or other school staff members the homeless student liaison and ask them to split their time among a range of responsibilities. ESSA increased funding for schools in this area, which may help some districts comply with this particular change.
The new education law also requires districts to disaggregate their graduation rates by student homelessness. For the first time, schools will be held accountable for how well they serve this population. Just like disaggregation by race and poverty status created new urgency to serve all students, this change demands schools identify and pay attention to one more subgroup.