Boston Public Schools are facing significant challenges — many of which, including turnaround schools, busing costs, and deteriorating buildings, are well known. Yet increasingly, school leaders are counting higher percentages of homeless children among their student body. It’s an issue that’s largely been kept quiet, but one that puts our city’s children and education system at significant risk. To continue to ignore the problem simply because there’s not an easy solution is unacceptable.
In fact, homelessness is on the rise in Massachusetts — particularly among public school children. As of October, Massachusetts’ Emergency Assistance reported approximately 4,100 families with children and pregnant women living in shelter programs, and in 2012, Massachusetts public schools reported serving 15,085 homeless students. While many teachers desperately want to help, the current methods available to them only begin to scratch the surface.
Jake Murray is the Senior Director at Aspire Institute. Prior to joining Aspire, he served for four years as a child and youth planner for the City of Cambridge, overseeing strategic planning, quality improvement, and program development for early education, out-of-school-time, and youth development services.