Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Foster care and No Child Left Behind

Research reveals high school mobility rates for young people entering foster care for the first time. Over two-thirds of foster care youth change schools shortly after their initial placement.

When I was in foster care, I experienced this first-hand. Moving from placement to placement required me change high schools five times. I lived in three different towns, and each time I changed schools, it was mid-semester.

Each school used a different textbook. The area where this affected me most was in math. Algebra? Yipes - don't talk to me about Algebra. I changed schools three times the year I was taking Algebra 1. By the the end of the year, I was completely lost.

The way I explained it to my third Algebra teacher that year was that I didn't know much about Algebra -- but what I did know was the formulas were dependent on each other. Learning Algebra was like constructing a building -- and I had no solid foundation. Just a few bricks here, a few stones there, no cohesive structure that fit together.

At the time, he didn't really seem to be listening to me. He asked me a couple of mathematical questions, and then threw up his hands and said, "If you don't know that, it's no use my trying to teach you. You are too far behind."

Thankfully, Casey Family Programs and the National Education Association don't have that sort of lackadaisical approach when it comes to improving the educational outcomes of foster children.

On April 24, 2007, they released a list of recommendations, which were included as part of the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act and McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act in a congressional briefing.

These recommendiations include:

1.) Improving school stability for young people in foster care.

2.) Ensuring that foster youth have access to education-related support services by making them automatically eligible for Title 1 services.

3.) Increasing funding for school counselors and mental health services.

I firmly agree with William C. Bell, president and CEO of Casey Family Programs that, "Our children and youth in foster care deserve better than the educational outcomes they currently face. We must be steadfast in working to provide them hope and success for their future."

For more information, please visit: http://www.casey.org/MediaCenter/PressReleasesAndAnnouncements/NCLB24April2007.htm

Press release from Casey Family Programs and the National Education Association.

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A nice reminder for the math teachers (I'm one too). A teacher who gives up on the students shouldn't have the priveledge of working FOR them!
Our 11 year old foster daughter has been in care for 5 years and in 9 different schools. Even though she is in 5th grade she tests at a 2nd grade level.
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