Education Week - March 7, 2018 - Special Report - S13

"In the last three or four years, we've had a concerted effort to
make teachers aware enough to ask someone else," Albo-Steiger
said. Educators are not expected to solve the problems themselves,
but they should share their concerns with a school counselor or
social worker, she said.
The federal government does not keep track of the individual disability categories that homeless students have, but some districts,
such as Miami-Dade, do. In the 2016-17 school year, Miami-Dade
had about 8,000 students classified as homeless, about 1,250 of
whom were classified as being eligible for the district's exceptional
student services, Albo-Steiger said.
Many of those students, close to 400, were identified because
they were eligible for gifted services. Of the remainder, most had
specific learning disabilities, which is also the largest disability category for special education students overall. Smaller numbers were
identified as having other health impairments, emotional disturbances, and autism.

CLASHING TIMELINES
Under the McKinney-Vento Act, districts are required to provide
transportation so that homeless students can remain in their school
of origin. The law also requires schools to enroll children even if
they don't have their complete educational records available. The
Every Student Succeeds Act expanded some provisions of McKinney-Vento by stating that preschool-age homeless children are also
eligible for services, that schools must remove enrollment barriers
such as fees or documents that might otherwise be required, and
that educational institutions must partner with other agencies that
support homeless families and youth.
While all districts must follow McKinney-Vento's mandates, only
a fraction of school systems receive federal support through the U.S.
Department of Education to do so. In fiscal 2017, $77 million was
distributed to the states through formula grants.
McKinney-Vento's focus is on moving quickly to enroll children.
The IDEA, on the other hand, has built-in timelines for evaluating a child for services that don't fit neatly into McKinney-Vento's
mandates.
"You can have administrators saying, 'I have to put them in
school, do we put them in the wrong placement and then have
to change them?' " said Kerry Wrenick, the statewide director of
homeless student services for Colorado. Before she took that position, she oversaw homeless student services in the Kansas City,
Mo., district.
"And then there's the whole question of whether they have a
legal person to sign off on all their [special education] stuff,"
Wrenick said, such as a parent or recognized guardian. The IDEA
requires an authorized party to agree to an individualized education
program, but the student may be living with a person who doesn't
have that standing. The IDEA has a provision allowing schools to
appoint what the law calls a "surrogate parent," just for the purposes of developing and supporting a student's special education
program.
But the tug-of-war between the two laws should not stop schools
from offering these students what they need, Wrenick stressed. She
urges district leaders not to overlook these students because they're
such a relatively small part of the student population.
"I really approach it as these provisions were put into place to
help level the playing field," Wrenick said. Given the special challenges life has handed them, these students "need a little extra." ■

WHEN HOMELESSNESS
AND DISABILITY CONVERGE
More than 1.3 million students are classified by the federal
government as homeless, meaning that they lack a "fixed, regular,
and adequate nighttime residence." Of those students, 18 percent
are classified as having disabilities, compared to 13 percent of the
general student population. The federal government collects data on
this student population, which is protected both by the Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act and the McKinney-Vento Homeless
Assistance Act. These data were collected in the 2015-16 school year.
States with the
highest percentages
of disabilities among
their homeless
students:

Maine
Delaware
New Hampshire
Vermont
Pennsylvania

States with the
lowest percentages
of disabilities
among their
homeless students:

Arizona
Colorado
Mississippi
California
Texas

31%
30
28
27
27
14%
14
14
13
12

3 Unsheltered

Where do homeless
students live?

7
Hotels,
Motels

14
Shelters, transitional
housing, awaiting
foster care

76%
Doubled up with friends
and relatives

While all school districts are required to follow
federal law in serving homeless students with
disabilities, less than one quarter of districts
receive federal funding to assist in that effort.
In fiscal 2017, states were able to apply
for a share of
in federal
funds for identification, enrollment, and
attendance of homeless children and youths.

$77 million

SOURCE: Education Week Research Center analysis of federal education data, National Center for
Homeless Education at the University of North Carolina at Greenboro

Research Analyst Alex Harwin contributed to this report.

Teaching Vulnerable Students

| 13



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - March 7, 2018 - Special Report

Education Week - March 7, 2018
Yzmar Roman, an 11th grader in Arecibo, Puerto Rico
Emotional Needs of Students, Educators Crucial to Puerto Rico’s School Recovery
School Districts Weigh Security After Shooting
Is It Time for a Focus on Civics Education?
Immigrants Thrive In Canadian Schools
News in Brief
Report Roundup
DACA Continues for Now, as Does Uncertainty for ‘Dreamers’
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Schools Teach ‘Cyber Hygiene’ to Prevent Internet Attacks
States Confront Range of Hurdles To Swift Action on School Security
Teachers With Gun Training Wary of Trump’s Proposal
Eyes on Pearson as It Moves to Sell Curriculum Business
Outside Supreme Court, Union Supporters, Detractors Face Off
Case Over Union Fees Poised on Knife’s Edge
DeVos Eyeing School Choice As Option for Military Families
Q&A with nadine burke harris: In the Wake of Adversity, a Pediatrician’s Guidance
Olga Acosta Price & Wendy Ellis: Schools Shouldn’t Tackle Trauma Alone
Letters
Collected responses: After Parkland, Where Do We Go From Here?
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Gregg Behr: The 2020 Census: Every Child Counts
Education Week - March 7, 2018 - Special Report - SC1
Education Week - March 7, 2018 - Special Report - SC2
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