The Smallest Victims of the Economy Crisis

Almost everybody is feeling the negative effects of the economy, but children and schools are getting hit exceptionally hard.  While schools have somewhat braced themselves for the reduction in federal, state and local funding as well as an increase in free lunch applications, most children are not able to understand the complexity of why their parents may be unemployed or why they no longer have a place to live. 

'Tidal Wave' of Homeless Students Hits Schools turns the spotlight on a few families that are now homeless and also highlights the heavy burden that already struggling schools are now facing.  Homeless students have a lower success rate in schools due the emotional strain of their parents' financial troubles, the embarrassment of losing their home and not knowing where their next meal or bed will be.  It's a lot for adults to try and handle, let alone a child.

So what can we do as teachers, parents and child advocates?  For starters, communicate with your elected officials about the importance of maintaining funding for programs that can positively affect children and families to help combat the effects of homelessness or help schools better meet the needs of their transient students.  For teachers, providing a warm, inviting and loving classroom is also critical in helping provide some semblance of stability for students who are experiencing.  Finally, offer care and support to any children and families in your life who may be experiencing stress and insecurity due to a parent's loss of job or change in where they live.

The residual effects of today's poor economy will be felt for years to come but hopefully we as educators and caregivers can help to soften the impact on the smallest victims of the economy crisis.