Homeless Students in Tennessee Public Schools
Author: Kim Potts
Since the start of the nation’s economic downturn in late 2007, the number of homeless students in public schools has significantly increased both nationally and in Tennessee. Between the 2006–07 and 2009–10 school years, the number of homeless students identified in public schools increased by about 38 percent nationally (from 679,724 students to 939,903 students). In Tennessee, the number of homeless students in public schools increased by about 74 percent during the same period, from 6,565 students in the 2006–07 school year to 11,458 in 2009–10. The increases may in part be a consequence of job losses and other difficulties related to the economy that have affected families, but may also result from some school districts’ improved efforts to identify homeless students. This legislative brief describes the federal requirements under the McKinney-Vento Act for states, school districts, and schools concerning the education of homeless children and youth; the effects of homelessness on children and youths’ education, as well as effects for districts and schools; and some characteristics of children and youth in Tennessee who are homeless and enrolled in Tennessee schools, including their academic achievement.