Voice of San Diego’s recent series on South Bay’s hidden homelessness crisis explored an important topic — one that unfortunately is not limited to the southern part of the county. Students in nearly every school district in the county are affected by homelessness, and too often they are invisible victims.
School districts are required to identify students experiencing homelessness, which is why we know that in San Diego County, there were more than 22,000 students in this situation in the 2015-16 school year.
Identifying students who are homeless is not easy.
Homelessness among students is not a uniform experience. Some children are homeless with their parents who may have lost their housing after experiencing a job loss, an unexpected tragedy or illness, a natural disaster or trauma related to violence or substance abuse. These families may be living temporarily in shelters, hotels or motels. On average, 75 percent to 80 percent of families identified as homeless are doubled-up, living in the home of a friend or relative.
These many variances make it extremely difficult to draw conclusions when comparing data across districts, counties or even states. We know for sure that all schools are impacted and carry a tremendous responsibility because they may be the only place a family is able to find resources and assistance.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
Can I be the only person who thinks there is no real solution to homelessness? Once the city starts down that path, there will be no end to the amount of money it will spend. The ones they help will expect more. The more they give, the more people people will migrate here for the shelter. Bottomless pit. I offer no solution because there is none that will not bankrupt the city.
Schools are already participants in this homeless crisis by circumstances. And, schools are not getting any help to do so. Homelessness is just another in a pile of imperatives thrown to schools. So, the single identifier, the single possible solution is an office at each school that deals with social issues. That system has already proven to be successful in some high schools in Los Angeles. Parents and children have a place to be informed at each school. School secretaries, school nurses, and other adjunct administrative personnel cannot deal with these issues effectively. A central office of information would help bridge the huge gap between the exigencies of the school and the demands of the family are involved.
Yes. You are correct. For twenty-seven years, as a classroom teacher, I was, indeed, in many cases the surrogate parent for some of my charges. Did I get paid more for that? No. Was it explicitly in my contract? No. Were there inherent risks to myself? Yes. But, I was obliged to take care of the children on my roster. I became, in many instances, the go-to person to assist families to find appropriate services. That is not the role of a teacher, not in the job description.
What is often missed in the negative press against teachers is that teachers realize they are coaches of a 9 or 10 month lasting team. There are as many as 30 individuals at ages 5 thru 9 that must achieve under extraordinary circumstances. And, it all must be accomplished in less than 6 hours per day. Each child comes to school with a myriad of social issues,from a slight sniffle to a full blown problem. And, it's the teacher that is on the receiving end of all of it.
Boo, hoo. Teachers get paid. Right. Teachers get paid to follow Ed Code which is as thick as three old telephone books and their contract, which says nothing about caring for the children. Doctors deal with vast regulations, but are greatly compensated for their risks. Teachers? ....not so much.
Teachers shoulder or they assume shouldering the responsibility of "educating" their charges according to the curriculum, the State, and other imponderables. In other words, they do more. So, why don't Marines get criticized? Good question. Teachers just don't happen to carry weapons of mass destruction. They carry...wait for it....love. That is something unquantifiable, ...yet necessary. Without concern for each student, in the final analysis, really no academic progress occurs. But, Betsy DeVos thinks that teachers are money grubbing hordes. ...Ms. DeVos is....wrong.
The things that make our country different are the things that make all other countries envious. And, teachers are at that historical, philosophical crossroads. And, they should be celebrated, not berated.
Schools are taking on much more of a social benefit than ever before. And, schools, teachers must be compensated for the efforts to assist children and families achieve. Anything less is, well,....less. I really don't think General Patton would align with "less".
I would think draining the Public Education swamp would more of a help to the homeless. An alter to organized labor where sermons regarding non-accountability are regularly preached seems like the last thing the disenfranchised need.