Obama's Education Speech Ignores Conditions of Homeless Children
President Obama's decision to address the nation's students this Tuesday has led to a national debate with some opposing federal government entering U.S. schools.
The reasons are numerous, but under what conditions are America's schoolchildren being urged to "take personal responsibility for their own education, to set goals, and to not only stay in school but make the most of it."?
Few children hold the privileges of first children Sasha Obama and Malia Obama who attend "Quaker Values" Sidwell Friends School. This lack of privilege shows in the faces of countless schoolchildren, particularly in the faces of America's homeless schoolchildren, who are truly disadvantaged when it comes to stability in their home lives due to "relentless unemployment and housing foreclosures" occurring in the United States, having a direct impact on their success in school.
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, 1.35 million U.S. children are homeless during the year in the United States, and 200,000 are homeless on any given day. The cause of this fastest growing segment: "relentless unemployment and housing foreclosures."
Foreclosures rose by 15 percent in the first half of 2009.
The data show that, despite the Obama administration’s plan to encourage the lending industry to prevent foreclosures by handing out $50 billion in subsidies, the nation’s housing woes continue to spread. Experts don’t expect foreclosures to peak until the middle of next year.
Foreclosure filings rose more than 33 percent in June compared with the same month last year and were up nearly 5 percent from May, RealtyTrac said.
“Despite all the efforts to date, we clearly haven’t got a handle on how to address the situation,” said Rick Sharga, RealtyTrac’s senior vice president for marketing.
More than 336,000 households received at least one foreclosure-related notice in June, according to the foreclosure listing firm’s report. That works out to one in every 380 U.S. homes.
The U.S. unemployment rate is at its highest in 26 years at 9.7 percent.
The US unemployment rate jumped to 9.7 percent in August, as employers slashed an additional 216,000 jobs, the Bureau of Labour Statistics reported Friday.
While employers cut fewer jobs in August than in July - when 276,000 jobs were lost - the unemployment rate soared to a 26-year high.
The rate is up from 9.4 percent in July. The number of unemployed people increased by 466,000 to 14.9 million, the government said.
The number of unemployed has soared by 7.4 million since the US recession began in December 2007 and the unemployment rate has grown by 4.8 percentage points.
Even though there are laws that protect America's homeless schoolchildren, some believe that Congress has provided little money, "adding to the fiscal woes."
Since 2001, federal law has required every district to appoint a liaison to the homeless, charged with identifying and aiding families who meet a broad definition of homelessness — doubling up in the homes of relatives or friends or sleeping in motels or RV campgrounds as well as living in cars, shelters or on the streets. A small minority of districts, including Buncombe County, have used federal grants or local money to make the position full time.
The law lays out rights for homeless children, including immediate school placement without proof of residence and a right to stay in the same school as the family is displaced. Providing transportation to the original school is an expensive logistical challenge in a huge district like Buncombe County, covering 700 square miles.
While the law’s goals are widely praised, school superintendents lament that Congress has provided little money, adding to the fiscal woes of districts. “The protections are important, but Congress has passed the cost to state and local taxpayers,” said Bruce Hunter, associate director of the American Association of School Administrators.
Still, President Obama will speak to the nation's schoolchildren urging them to "take personal responsibility for their own education, to set goals, and to not only stay in school but make the most of it."
Charity Crowell is one child who can be expected to "take personal responsibility for [her] own education, to set goals, and to not only stay in school but make the most of it." Read her story, here.
Previously on NowPublic by this Author:
Related NowPublic coverage, here.
Most Recommended Comment
Clearlake, California, United States