July 15, 2015

Inhofe Amendment Would Track Homeless Students

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Nate Robson

Nate Robson

EDUCATION WATCH BLOG
July 15, 2015

An amendment co-sponsored by Sen. Jim Inhofe would track the graduation rates of homeless and foster care students, while the bill it is attached to would replace the controversial No Child Left Behind Act.

Inhofe, the lead Republican co-sponsor of the amendment introduced by Sen. Corey Booker, D-N.J., said the measure added this week will help states, school districts and parents get the information needed to ensure homeless and foster care students are successful. Inhofe is the senior Oklahoma senator.

The data would be included on state and district report cards.

The amendment passed, 56-40, on Tuesday.

“Those in foster care and homeless youth are some of the most overlooked students in our nation’s education system, Inhofe said in a press release. “Due to the lack of a consistent, stable family unit at home, these children are often navigating the education system without adult guidance or support.”

The amendment is included in the Every Child Achieves Act, which would replace No Child Left Behind.

Staff members with Inhofe’s office said the proposed act already has provisions to track test scores of homeless and foster care students, but did not include graduation rates prior to the amendment.

Homeless students and foster care students face several challenges in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma had a record high 25,114 homeless students in 2013-2014, according to the state Department of Education. Most lived in tenuous circumstances with friends or family members who are not their parents.

The amendment process is still ongoing and should be finished Thursday, staffers said.

Both the House and Senate are working on their own versions of a No Child Left Behind replacement bill.

The Senate version intends to give states more control in developing school accountability measures while ensuring they still meet federal guidelines, such as tracking the academic performance of minority students.

  • Kristin

    “…these children are often navigating the education system without adult guidance or support.” Oh- so is Inhofe going to hold these children’ hands and escort them throughout the complex maze? Alot them each a mentor? This is pure BS. This is SIMPLY and solely a data collection to be used in the gargantuan “data research” – that miasma of every dot, tittle, and DNA scrap the Data Gods have on each and every citizen. They butter these initiatives up with caring-sounding phrases, as if “caring” was their intent! Don’t be fooled, people. Don’t be fooled.

  • John R Harris

    I’m sorry Kristin but I must take issue with your post. Although I disagree profoundly with the Senator on almost every other policy aspect, if not all, his amendement here is one that we’ve long campaigned for and is to be applauded, albeit being long overdue.

    Why is this data needed ? It’s simple – knowing the size of a problem is essential in order to start the slow process toward ameliorating it. What’s more, this amendment merely brings us to a point we should have reached years ago with the federal passage of McKinney-Vento.

    There are two things we know : (i) As credits are only awarded at semester or year-end, schools inherently are designed for children who can stay in one place. (ii) Because of that, in a modular, credit-based (bingo-card) system, the more that you move, the less chance you have of graduating. Bottom line, if you’re moving dozen or more times during your K-12 career, as so many homeless or foster students are, your chance of a diploma is minimal. In fact your chance of even being allowed to register at a school mid-term, despite the law, is minimal.

    Approximately five per cent per year of all students are homeless; another five per cent per year are in foster care. What programs are there for them ? What support are they given ? How many graduate ? What happens to those that don’t? The problem we have is that unlike so many other states, and despite the best efforts of so many Oklahomans on the ground, as a state we do not have that data and cannot answer those questions. And the children continue to fall quietly away…

    So no, Kristin, with all respect this isn’t about Big Brother reading your email or tapping your phone – this is about the very first, very small step of a very late state attempting to find out just how many children it is continuing to leave behind.

    So kudos to Sen. Inhofe for taking this step – steps that quite frankly OSDE should have been taking for years.