Homeless School Children: Uncountable Numbers, Inadequate Education

A classroom half full of middle school students engaged in various activities
This scene was created by affordablehousingaction.org and is licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication
Who is missing here? Homeless children falling through the cracks in the education system.

It may seem strange to case the world for bad news, rather than good news, in order to tackle social problems. Education is one field where observing the trials and tribulations of other jurisdictions can help a community prepare for things that may face their own children.

Is your community better off or worse off, say, than London, England? That city is undoubtedly capable of building the housing needed to support the one in every fifty residents who are homeless. Focusing on education, it is distressing to learn that currently the number of homeless children equates to one in every classroom in London1.

In North America, California is the epicentre of homelessness. There, estimates suggest that the state hosts close to one third of an entire nation of America’s homeless.

Worldwide, governments at all levels generally prefer to cast the problem as anything but an increasing lack of affordable housing, something supposedly ruinously expensive to address. Instead, symbolic feints at the problem are inevitably inexpensive failures. School systems reflect this problem.

What are California’s experiments to educate all of the state’s next generation of students? There are useful lessons to be learned. For example, the state tries to quantify the students who are missing out.

California’s official record of children who are homeless and meant to be in school are all undercounts. Undercounting has an impact on funding for education as a whole. Read about this and more at SPECTRUM NEWS 1: Back-to-school creates challenges for homeless students


  1. Read more at the BBC: One in 50 Londoners homeless, London Councils finds