|Homeless Jesus statue unveiled in Chicago. But 20,000 homeless students remain invisible.|
Of course, great teachers, small classes and small, well-equipped schools, along with good school district, state and federal policies and leadership can do much to counter or soften the negative impact of poverty but nevertheless, today's widening poverty gap explains most of what is called, the "achievement gap."
In today's test-crazy school environment, the above statement is often attacked by corporate reformers as "making excuses" or "defending the status quo." But the facts are stubborn fellows and can't be dismissed so easily.
"Homelessness is not always those who live on the street or in shelters but also those staying with family and friends on a regular basis," said Antoinette Taylor, chairwoman of the 42-member Truancy in Chicago Public Schools Task Force. "And because of school closings it has forced students to travel even farther to get to school." -- DNAinfoAccording to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, there were 2,615 homeless students attending the 99 schools that are being closed or scheduled to receive closing schools.
The Coalition warned Byrd-Bennett and Rahm about the potential consequences of the school closings and turnarounds for homeless students last May.
Under the massive plan, another 28 schools are impacted – five schools will become “turnarounds,” with all teaching and support staff fired and replaced, and 23 grade and high schools will undergo 11 “co-locations” in shared buildings. When including all 127 schools impacted by closure/mergers, turnaround and co-locations, a total of 41,096 students will be impacted, and 3,607 students (8.8%) are homeless.Let's see what, if anything will change now that the task force has heard from community voices.