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The Education Crisis Facing Homeless Students

An empty classroom is seen at Hollywood High School on August 13, 2020 in Hollywood, California. (Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)
An empty classroom is seen at Hollywood High School on August 13, 2020 in Hollywood, California. (Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

The dawn of 2020 saw a record number of American children experiencing homelessness. For many of those million-plus children, school was the most reliable place in their life. So what happens when schools close, and education goes remote?  


Barbara Duffield, executive director of SchoolHouse Connection, a non-profit focused on homeless youth and education. (@DuffieldBarbara)

Kerri Tobin, professor at Louisiana State University’s School of Education. Her research is focused on the effects of poverty on children’s education. Co-author of “Homelessness Comes to School.”

Melissa Douglas, Kansas City Public Schools homeless liaison. About 10% of Kansas City Public Schools students qualify as homeless.

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Christine Quinn,president and CEO of Win, the largest provider of shelter and supportive housing for families and children in New York City.

Nikki Hannon,director of parent and community outreach for Browning Public Schools in Montana.

From The Reading List

Chalkbeat: “Across the U.S., fewer students are being identified as homeless. Educators say that’s actually a bad sign.” — “Across the country, school staff are reporting a ‘shocking drop’ in the number of students who are identified as homeless and are therefore entitled to critical support from their school.”

60 Minutes: “A wave of evictions is on the horizon. What impact could they have on kids’ education?” — “There were new additions to classrooms when schools opened this fall. There were plastic shields and cloth facemasks, hand sanitizer and login instructions when learning went online. But something was missing — tens of thousands of students.”

KCUR: “Children Will Bear The Brunt Of Kansas City’s Looming Eviction Crisis” — “Mikaela Johnson has a vague notion of a home she’d like to live in with her mother and her younger brother and sister.”

Chalkbeat: “Housing instability is expected to rise. Schools are already on the front lines.” — “Denise Riemer has spent 18 years watching out for young people with unstable housing in Alabama’s largest school district.”

Hechinger Report: “Homeless students set adrift by school closures face crisis after crisis” — “On a recent weekend, Destiny, 17, spent an unusually sunny spring day canoeing near her temporary home in Western Washington. Technically homeless, Destiny has been staying with her grandmother. She went to sleep that night on the living room couch with a slight ache in her throat.”

Chicago Sun-Times: “Inside the life of a homeless Chicago student in the age of the coronavirus: Fear of failing — or not surviving” — “For the first three months, it was a park bench by Douglas Park on the West Side.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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