A new report reveals that the population of homeless students in New York City's public schools has increased tremendously. According to the annual study conducted by Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homeless, there are over 140 000 homeless students in NYC alone. This number is equal to the population of the city of Albany.
If these trends continue, one in seven public school students will be homeless at some point during school, according to the report's author. “That is about two or three elementary students in each classroom,” said principal policy analyst at the institute. She said that are not just about whether the student is currently in a double up setting or in a shelter. Did they have that experience in the past year or did they have that experience in kindergarten?
More that 140 000 NYC elementary students have experienced homelessness within the past six years, according to the report.
Homeless students are far much more likely to fall behind a grade, change schools mid-year, drop out or be suspended from school.
The report blames the fallout of housing crisis in the city, which has contributed greatly to the growing number of homeless families in the city. A state rental assistance program is no longer available. On the other hand, state and federal aid has faced numerous challenges. The current administration has tried to slow down the growing number of families in the city shelters, but with little success.
Homelessness is not easy for anyone. It is difficult under any circumstances. For young children, poor shelter and stress can be too much for them to handle. Kids hop from school to school as their families move from one home to another, before entering the shelter system. In addition, getting kids to school everyday is not a walk in the park, particularly if parents have recently moved to the city.
According to the report, a homeless student in New York city missed more than eighty eight days of school. This is virtually half of an entire school year. ‘
Homeless families must make a difficult choice of living their kids in public schools. They may also be forced to transfer the kid to another school near their house. Taking the child to a new school can create a feeling of disturbance or dislocation. Even so, it makes it easier for the student to attend his or her classes on a regular basis. Missing classes will not be an option.
The report found that homeless students were more likely to need special education services than those with stable housing. Their proficiency rates on state English and Math exams for 3rd through 8th graders were below average. They were pretty lower than their counterparts with stable housing. One in every six English Language Leaner students was homeless, the report says.
The report recommends that elementary students should be helped off the streets after school programs. Also, providing snacks and lunches can help homeless students concentrate in class. It will prevent them from focusing on their empty stomachs.