Before last week, I had never heard of this act. I had been told that there are quite a few homeless children at White Center Heights Elementary, but no one had mentioned that the Federal government allocates funds to districts every year strictly for the purpose of locating, educating, and otherwise aiding homeless children. Several of us student teachers met with Shari Krugler, the counselor at our elementary school, and asked her to fill us in on the McKinney-Vento Act and how it has affected our school. She told us that not enough people are aware of the act and the ways it can positively affect homeless students’ education. The article I read said much the same thing. It seems that this act wasn’t publicized very widely or for very long. I think that’s so unfortunate, because homelessness is such a huge problem in the U.S., and we have these generous provisions for homeless children that we’re not taking full advantage of.
Looking at just the act alone and forgetting momentarily that it hasn’t been implemented as thoroughly as possible, I think its pros far outweigh any cons. The lives of homeless children are pretty bleak and often dysfunctional. Without a consistent, welcoming school environment, their futures will likely look much the same as their present lives look. For them, education is their ticket out and that’s why it’s so important that educators take the act seriously and do their best to keep track of homeless children. I appreciate that under the act children can be transported to their school even if they’re uprooted and move out of the school’s normal admittance boundaries. Such consistency is crucial to their success, in my opinion. I also appreciate that basic needs can be provided, such as food and clothing. I can’t fathom why anyone would object to this act. Shari Krugler did mention that one complaint has surrounded the fact that it gets expensive for the district and taxpayers; however, if the Federal government is the entity that provides the funds, I don’t see how the district or taxpayers are affected directly, at least cost-wise. Perhaps the Federal fund has run out on occasion and some districts have had to continue providing for homeless children with their own funds.
Hernandez Jozefowicz-Simbeni, Debra M., and Israel, Nathaniel. (2006). Services to Homeless Students and Families: The McKinney-Vento Act and Its Implications for School Social Work Practice. Children and Schools. 28(1), 37-44. Retrieved from ERIC.
Shari Krugler, Counselor, White Center Heights Elementary