It may be your daughter’s best friend. It may be the captain of the football team. It may be the new student who just transferred in. It may be the one who has lived in your neighborhood for as long as you can remember. What we know is that the vast majority of public schools serve at least one student experiencing homelessness. In fact, the average public school has 14 students facing this crisis.
Too often, nobody notices, meaning that the opportunity to help is delayed or lost altogether. Today, America’s Promise Alliance (APA) and Civic Enterprises released an unprecedented report, Hidden in Plain Sight: Homeless Students in America’s Public Schools, containing data from an extensive survey of formerly homeless students and educators. The report urges communities across the nation to take action to address this crisis, that we commit to a 90 percent graduation rate for students who have experienced homelessness, and that we recognize that no effort to end the dropout crisis or to achieve equity in education will be successful without fully supporting these 1.3 million students.
The picture painted by Hidden in Plain Sight is one that cannot be tolerated:
Unfortunately, the report also highlights the missed opportunities to help. The liaisons in charge of identifying these students and ensuring they are well-supported report they cannot do their jobs:
As we move forward with this new insight, we will continue to work with our public and private partners to bring the number from 14 to zero. You can join this effort by signing APA's pledge to take action, because we all have a role to play in supporting students facing homelessness. We hope you will join us.