This report from Schoolhouse Washington discusses data and demographics specific to the state of Washington. However, the greater conclusions about the impact of student homelessness on academic success and state-level solution suggestions are broadly applicable. Donors can use this information to guide further research or advocacy efforts.
Schoolhouse Washington’s latest in-depth analysis of public school data finds that academic outcomes for students experiencing homelessness continue to lag behind those of their housed peers in all academic measures ranging from English language arts and mathematics proficiency to on-time graduation.
The analysis also provides further evidence that student homelessness is a statewide issue, as students experiencing homelessness fare worse by comparison regardless of whether they go to school in a city, town, suburb, or rural community.
The report also tracks and compares student outcomes over four school years, from 2014-15 to 2017-18, revealing both encouraging and discouraging trends:
- On-time graduation rates have improved for students experiencing homelessness, and the gap compared to their housed peers has narrowed.
- English language arts and math proficiency rates have improved for students experiencing homelessness, but the gaps in those outcomes compared to their housed peers have grown larger.
- Outcomes related to social-emotional learning (regular attendance and suspension rates) have gotten worse for students experiencing homelessness.
As a direct consequence of their housing instability, students experiencing homelessness face a variety of barriers outside of their control that get in the way of their goals of achieving academic success.
Other key findings of our report include:
- More than 60% of students experiencing homelessness are students of color. Black/African American, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native students have experienced the largest increases in student homelessness rates since 2015.
- Student homelessness has risen sharply in Washington. More than 40,000 students experienced homelessness during the 2017-18 academic year?a total that is almost twice that of 10 years ago.
- Student homelessness on a per-capita basis is highest in rural communities at a rate of 4.8%. Looking at sheer numbers, however, more than 40% of all students experiencing homelessness are enrolled in school districts located inside a city (such as Seattle, Spokane, Yakima, etc.).
- Students experiencing homelessness who are living doubled-up have similarly poor academic outcomes as those living in hotels/motels, in shelters, and unsheltered. This pattern holds true for all academic outcomes.
- Unsheltered homelessness is the fastest growing nighttime residence category. The proportion living unsheltered has increased in every grade, among almost every racial/ethnic group, and in every type of geographic location (city, rural, suburban, town) since 2015.
Read the full article about homelessness and academic achievement at Schoolhouse Washington or download the full PDF Below.
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