A School Based Evaluation of the McKinney-Vento Act
Student homelessness accounts for 40% of the homeless population and affects 30% of students in the U.S. at some point in their schooling careers (Canfield et al., 2016; Bassuk et al., 2014). It disproportionally affects students who are from marginalized groups: LGBTQ+ students, students of color, immigrants, and refugees (Low et al., 2017; Report on Homeless Children and Youth, 2015; Murphy & Tobin, 2011; Bradley, 2015). Students experiencing homelessness have lower attendance rates, lower grades and achievement scores, higher rates of behavior instances (Low et. all, 2017; Stronge & Reed-Victor, 2000), higher grade retention (Rafferty et. al, 2004), and lower graduation rates (Miller, 2011A). They also have higher rates of learning disability identification (Bowman & Barksdale, 2004), and are more likely to have poor self-concept (Rafferty et. al, 2004), developmental delays, and psychological problems (Rafferty & Shinn, 1991). The McKinney-Vento Act was re-authorized under the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 in order to combat these inequities students experiencing homelessness face. The act requires states to outline plans that cover the following: 1How children will be aided to meet standards. 2How to identify homeless students. 3Resolution plans for disputes over student school placement 4Programs to make school personnel more aware of student homelessness. 5A plan to help students meet food program eligibility. 6A plan for access to pre-k, secondary education, and before/afterschool programs. This paper evaluates both the positive attributes of the McKinney-Vento Act and the areas in which it is lacking. Next, I offer suggestions to schools in order to both enact the McKinney-Vento Act properly and to compensate for areas in which the McKinney-Vento Act is lacking. These suggestions include educating families on the rights associated with the McKinney-Vento Act, educating housed students about homelessness, providing counseling for students experiencing homelessness, and creating a strong collaboration between the liaison and school.