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Educational Opportunities for Homeless Children - Essay Example

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The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act of 2001 was signed into law by the federal government to make sure that homeless children have access in local school districts to a free, appropriate public education, including access to public pre-school programs…
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Educational Opportunities for Homeless Children
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Download file to see previous pages In addition, in any state with a compulsory residency requirement, an attempt should be made to revise such laws. Homeless children and youth should have equal opportunity to meet the same challenging State student academic achievement standards as other students. According to Sec. 725-2 of the Act, homeless children and youth are those who do not have a regular and adequate nighttime residence or have a primary nighttime residence in a supervised public or private shelter on a temporary basis. This definition goes on to include:
Homeless children should be eligible for all services offered by the local school district in which they are residing and efforts are being made at present to update the Act (U.S. Government, 2001; Federal, 2007). In this election year, it is important to be aware of the education policy of the candidates.
One problem that arises in the effort to meet the needs of homeless children is finding the children who are considered homeless and bringing them into the mainstream (Harris 2002). How do homeless children come to the attention of schools According to Harris, the temporary aspect of their lifestyle makes it difficult to give these children the proper benefits. Even if they are brought into a school, it is likely they will have to move on more than once before they can take advantage of available opportunities. Another problem in some districts is the lack of keeping records and being unaware of the number of homeless children eligible for assistance. Many students, Harris notes, have difficulty enrolling in a school without an address, a birth certificate, or immunization records, even though this is not acceptable according to the Act. Also, sufficient staff to offer personal assistance to children in need is often not available.
An article by online journalist Beth Hawkins (2008) notes the embarrassment homeless children feel at knowing they are different from their classmates and describes one resolution in Minneapolis where homeless children are picked up by a bus at a central location and dropped off at school just like other students. Unfortunately, Hawkins says, even though the homeless children are absorbed into the mainstream, the problem remains hidden from the general public, and several Minnesota districts have started programs aimed at doing a better job of helping homeless children without focusing undue attention on them.
Why homeless
One reason for homelessness is family poverty. Children cannot participate in some school projects because their family has little money and may be living in a shelter. Another reason, perhaps the main reason, according to Hawkins, is single mothers who are destitute and often lack education needed to find employment or lack childcare opportunities because they do not have a place to live. Although some are in shelters, some are on the street or living in a car. Also, migrant parents often do not have a permanent address. Some school districts are reluctant to address the needs of homeless child ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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