The receiving an adequate chance to their
The Effects of Being Homeless and Receiving a Public Education: Abstract For so long the homeless populations of the children in our public school systems have been overlooked. Research shows that homeless and low-income students suffer from some of the same issues but homeless children suffer long- term effects outside of what their housed peers face. The McKinney-Vento Act that was reauthorized in 2001 sets standards for how public schools should service homeless students. Beyond the public schools there are many things that teachers can do individually to enhance their children’s experiences and learning while at school.The only way to break this vicious cycle of homelessness in public schools is through education.
Introduction The absence of a stable living arrangement has a devastating impact on educational outcomes for youth. For many students who are homeless, not having the proper school records often leads to incorrect classroom placement (Roundtree, 1996). Medical records, immunization records, previous school transcripts, and proof of residency are some of the barriers students that suffer from homelessness have to face when being placed within school districts.
When students change schools frequently, it is difficult for educators to correctly identify their needs and ensure proper placement (Roundtree, 1996). Also, the lack of transportation is an obstacle that further prevents many homeless children and youth from obtaining education. Stereotypes about homelessness combined with lack of support from the school district can often prevent homeless students from receiving the best education possible (Roundtree, 1996).
All of these reasons prevent homeless youth from receiving an adequate chance to their educational rights.For so long the population of homeless children has been overlooked in our public education systems. The purpose of this paper is to bring awareness to the effects of being homeless on children and education. I plan to do this by bringing awareness to the barriers that children and families face while trying to receive a free and equal education. There has been a misconception that homeless families suffer the same effects of those of low-income families. Research shows that homeless children and their families have a far harder time achieving academic success.
With the definition of homelessness being anyone who, due to a lack of housing, lives in emergency or transitional shelters, in motels, hotels, trailer parks, campgrounds, abandoned in hospitals, awaiting foster care placement, in cars, parks, public places, bus or train stations, abandoned buildings, or doubled up with relatives or friends, show us that homeless is just that without a home. To discriminate against these students because of lack of housing is something that I believe the educational system shouldn’t stand for. Review of ResearchIn a 1993 study found in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology researchers examined the psychological adjustment of 159 homeless children in comparison with a sample of 62 low-income children living at home. In each group, ages ranged from 8-17years old. Homeless children were found to have greater recent stress exposure than housed poor children, as well as more disrupted schooling and friends. It was also found that child behavior problems were above normal levels for homeless children, particularly for antisocial behavior.Externalizing scores on the Child Behavior Checklist for the homeless children were significantly higher than normative for all groups.
The number of children with total problem scores in the clinical range was 200% higher than the expected value of 18%. The proportion of housed poor children in the clinical range was about 50% higher than expected, which was not a significant difference. The proportions in the clinical range for externalizing scores were higher than expected values for both homeless and housed samples.For the internalizing score, only the homeless sample had a higher proportion in the clinical range. Significantly higher proportions of homeless children scored in the clinical range for both subscales of the externalizing score and for one of the three subscales of the internalizing domain. Frequencies of children with scores in the clinical range were also elevated for all three additional subscales, including attention problems.
Some values also appeared high for the housed sample; those included delinquent behavior, aggressive behavior, and the social problem syndromes.Results suggest that homeless children have greater stress exposure and fewer resources than low-income children of similar background whose families have housing do. Child behavior problems were significantly higher in the homeless sample than in the normative sample for the Child Behavior Checklist, particularly in the domain of antisocial behavior.
The primary predictors of child behavior problems in this study were parental distress, cumulative risk history, and recent life events, rather than housing status.Homeless adolescents did report lower self-worth and more negative perceived academic competence. Among homeless children, younger girls appeared to have the most overall behavioral and emotional problems. In the housed sample, female adolescents appeared to have the most problems, at least from the parent’s perspective. The second study done by Carol Ziesemer and Louise Marcoux (1994) examined the differences in academic performance, adaptive functioning, and problem behaviors of homeless children compared to children with low socioeconomic status.
They used 145 elementary school-aged children who had experienced homelessness and 142 mobile children with low socioeconomic status. They tested the children with the Achenbach and Edelbrock Teacher report Form and the Harter Self-Perception Profile for Children. The average length of homelessness was between 4-5 weeks although it was typically longer for larger families. Approximately two-thirds of both groups performed below grade level in reading and mathematics achievement.
Almost half of the homeless children and the matched group scored in the clinical range in adaptive functioning on the TRF, indicating the need for further assessment; the range was from 48-57 percent. These proportions far exceed the expected outcomes (13%) based on the TRF norms for low-SES populations, even given the norm groups smaller proportion of lowest SES children. About 25% of homeless and low-SES-mobile students had problem behavior scores above the 89th percentile, indicating the need for further assessment.An additional 10-15 percent had scores above the 89th percentile, indicating severe behavioral deviance. Approximately 70% of the students in both groups were at moderate or greater risk academically or behaviorally. About 10% of those were at severe risk. Teachers perceived that about 30% of students to be functioning within the normal range or to have only mild risk factors.
Children’s behavior and academic achievement more than a year after resulting from a 3-5 week shelter stay did not differ significantly from their behavior and achievement for the year during which they were homeless.In both groups, academic and emotional needs varied, and for a substantial proportion, differed significantly from other students in their age group. Researchers Carol Ziesemer and Louise Marcoux believes that the similarities between the homeless and the low-SES-mobile groups suggests that homelessness is indeed one great event along the continuation of a child’s experience of poverty rather than a temporary phenomenon with short-lived effects.
The final research study that I wish to discuss was found in the Developmental Psychology Journal.Bassuck, Brooks, Buckner, and Weinreb (1999) examined the relationship between housing status and depression, anxiety, and problem behaviors among children age 6 and older that were members of low-income, single-parent, female-headed families. Participants were 80 homeless and 148 never homeless children living in Worcester, Massachusetts. Homeless youths experienced almost twice the number of stressful life events than housed youth in the prior year. Homeless children were also more residentially unstable; having moved 3.
4 times on average in the past year as compared to 0. 8 times for housed children.Lifetime rates of sexual abuse were much higher for homeless youth than housed youth (21% vs.
9%). Thirty-four percent of homeless children and 17% of housed children had been placed in foster care or gone to live with a relative at some point in the past. Approximately 47% of all homeless children were above the cutoff on the Child Behavior Checklist, suggesting the need for clinical referral on the internalizing measure compared to 21% for poor housed children.
On the externalizing score about 36% of homeless children and 27% of poor housed children were rated by there mothers as above the clinical cutoff.Eleven percent of homeless children and 9% of housed children reported depressive symptoms at the clinical cutoff point or above. For symptoms of anxiety, 8% were in the clinical range on the Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale. Older children reported to have more aggressive and acting out behavior than younger children do. Mother’s distress as strongly associated with reporting greater behavior problems in the child.
This was true for externalizing and internalizing problems. Housing status was associated with internalizing problem behaviors but not externalizing problems.Homeless children’s internalizing scores were 6. 4 points higher on average than those for housed youths. Homeless children’s externalizing scores were 3. 4 points higher on the average than those for housed children.
Although they hypothesized that length of homelessness could be related to behavior problems, mother’s psychological distress could confound this relationship. Mothers who were homeless longer could be expected to be more distressed and thus rate their children as having more behavior problems.This study suggested that homelessness has a negative impact on the developmental status, behavior, and emotional well being of children (Bassuck et al. 1999). Analysis For so long the issue of homelessness has been associated and looked over by poverty. I believe that this research shows that homelessness is an issue all its own.
Although the comparisons of homeless and housed students revealed some striking differences and important similarities, it evident that this students suffering from homelessness have a harder time than that of their low0income housed counterparts.Homelessness’ affect on children are traitorous, especially when it comes to academic achievement. The research studies that were depicted above only show a few of the effects that homelessness has on children, which is greater than those from low-income families.
I believe that as teachers we are so quick to label our children without really knowing the true meaning behind it all. To label both children that come from low income families and homeless children does an injustice to the children we serve. Children are individuals and should be treated as such.With so many concerns that homeless children are confronted with it’s no wonder why they face a tougher time with academic achievement. Concerns that derive from health problems, low-self-esteem, short attention span, poor language skills, inappropriate behavior, and embarrassment just to name a few, learning could be the last thing on these children’s mind. As educators and administrators I believe that it’s up to us to take into account the research presented in order to make a better place for our children. Conclusion Many people view homelessness as a fringe issue, affecting only certain kinds of people in society.
This view does not reflect the changing demographics of homelessness in the United States, including the steady rise in homelessness among families with children. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act is broken down into three major sections, enrollment, attendance, and success (Hernandez, Israel 2006). The enrollment section of this act indicates that public schools are to immediately enroll students experiencing homelessness regardless of the lack of documentation not available at the time of enrollment. This documentation could be proof of residency, school records, immunization records, etc.
The school must also provide students with their school of choice- students are allowed to stay at their school of origin. Public notice of educational rights must be posted in all public schools. The Attendance portion of the McKinney-Vento Act depicts that school districts must provide transportation to ensure access to school and are not allowed to provide separate school experiences for homeless students. The last section of this act is geared toward the success of the students. Homeless students are to receive services compared to those available to housed students.Promotion is made for high school or GED completion and the school districts are to collaborate with social service agencies to ensure appropriate services are available for the students. The review and implementation of this act is what I believe to be the key to breaking this cycle.
In addition to this act teachers can do a lot more things. By making the child feel welcome, assigning peer buddies to help the student get acquainted with the school and classroom, making contacts with parents if applicable, and by giving the child ownership of school space (Knowlton, 2006).For many homeless students school is the only place in which children have structure. I think we as teachers, need to focus on this to ensure that our students are experiencing the security and stability that they require.
They only way that I believe we can break the cycle of homelessness is through the education of children and ourselves. The more educated we are the more we are able to advocate and put into place practices that can ensure homeless children and all children quality education. References Bassuk, Ellen L. , Brooks, Margaret G.
, Buckner, John C. Weinreb, Linda F. (1999). Homelessness and Its relation to the Mental Health and Behavior of Low-Income School-Age children. Developmental Psychology, 35, 246-257.
Gram-Bermann, Sandra A. , Masten, Ann S. , Millotis, Donna, Neeman, Jennifer & Ramirez, MaryLouise (1993), Children in Homeless Families: Risks to Mental Health and Development. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 61, 335-343.
Hernandex Jozwfowicz-Simbeni, D. , & Israel, N. (2006 January). Services to Homeless Students and Families The MCKinney-Vento Act and Its Implications for School Social Work Practice.Children & Schools, 28(1) 37-44. Retrived June 10, 2008, from Academic Search database. Knowlton, A.
(2006, Fall). Helping the Homeless: What Educators Can Do to Ease the Pain. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 73(1). Retrieved June 10, 2008 , from Academic Search Premier database. Roundtree, M (1996, September). Opening school doors to the homeless.
Thrust for Educational Leadership, 26(1), 10. Ziesemer, Carol & Marcoux, Louise (1994). Homeless children: Are they different from other low-income children? Social Work 39, 658-669