This morning, the U.S. Department of Education announced the release of nearly $600 million in funding under the American Rescue Plan Act’s Homeless Children and Youth program to support students experiencing homelessness. In response, Chip Slaven, interim Executive Director and CEO of the National School Boards Association (NSBA), offered the following statement:
“As schools reopen this fall, these vitally important funds will help support positive education, health, and life outcomes for the approximately 1.3 million students in the United States who are experiencing homelessness and facing daily challenges that few of us can imagine.
“Prior to the pandemic, homeless students already had one of the lowest—if not the lowest—high school graduation rates among all student subgroups. When school buildings closed during the pandemic, homeless students suffered tremendously, lacking access not only to stable housing, but also to the internet connections necessary for regular check-ins with their teachers and other support personnel, much less the robust high-speed connections necessary for remote learning. As a result, countless homeless students missed out on instruction, meals, and other support services. In many places, homeless students disappeared entirely from schools’ radars.
“During congressional negotiations on the American Rescue Plan, the National School Boards Association was a vocal proponent for this funding dedicated to students experiencing homelessness. With today’s distribution of funds from the U.S. Department of Education, states and school districts across the United States will have access to these funds prior to the start of this upcoming school year and can hopefully begin reconnecting with the homeless students who disappeared from classrooms—both online and in person—duringthe pandemic.”
For more information on where homeless students live and go to school; characteristics of homeless students; and how homeless students perform academically, please visit https://nsba.org/Perspectives/2021/homeless-students.
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is a federation of state associations and the U.S. territory of the Virgin Islands that represent locally elected school board officials serving approximately 51 million public school students regardless of their disability, ethnicity, socio-economic status or citizenship. Working with and though our state association members, NSBA advocates for equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. We believe that public education is a civil right necessary to the dignity and freedom of the American people and that each child deserves equitable access to an education that maximizes their individual potential. For more information, visit nsba.org.