Homeless students undercounted in schools across Florida and the nation

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
A broom closet in Northside Elementary School in Bay County is filled with donated shoes for students whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Michael in 2018.
A broom closet in Northside Elementary School in Bay County is filled with donated shoes for students whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Michael in 2018. [ DAVID GOLDMAN | AP ]
Published Nov. 16, 2022

The big story: Homeless students have educational rights that are outlined and protected in federal law.

Yet every year, thousands of children slip through the cracks, as their districts undercount their numbers if they report any homelessness at all.

The scenario plays itself out in Florida, as well as in the rest of the nation.

“It’s a largely invisible population,” said Barbara Duffield, executive director of SchoolHouse Connection, told Chalkbeat. “The national conversation on homelessness is focused on single adults who are very visible in large urban areas. It is not focused on children, youth and families. It is not focused on education.”

Read more from Chalkbeat.

Hot topics

Broward superintendent: The Broward County School Board’s attorney had some thoughts about whether the board violated Florida’s Sunshine Laws in its move to fire the superintendent, the Sun-Sentinel reports. The four board members who opposed the move tried to rescind it on Tuesday, but failed. The board instead approved a national search, with Vickie Cartwright to stay on the job at least another 60 days, the Miami Herald reports. Cartwright said she was shocked by the board’s abrupt action, the Herald reports.

Superintendent elections: Lee County voters will get to select their school superintendent in a partisan election beginning in 2024, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

Charter schools: The Broward County school district has proposed sharing more funding with charter schools, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

School board politics: Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez ceremonially swore in two newly elected Miami-Dade County School Board members a week early, after they pledged their support for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ education agenda, WLRN reports.

Teacher pay: The Bay County school district and teachers union ended contract talks with an agreement that would provide an average raise of 5.52%, WMBB reports.

Other school news

The Polk County school district settled a complaint that it did not treat a female employee equally to a male employee in a like job. It was filed by a district equal employment opportunity officer, Bay News 9 reports.

Escambia County’s long-struggling Warrington Middle has a new improvement plan. Charter Schools USA will take over operations of the school, WKRG reports.

The Jackson County school district is preparing to build a new K-8 school. It’s in negotiations to secure a park for its athletic fields, WJHG reports.

Florida aims to provide added educational services to children of military families. The state announced the designation of dozens of Purple Star schools and a training program to help schools better focus on the needs of the children and families, WFLA reports.

From the police blotter ... A Duval County school custodian was arrested on allegations of sexual battery on a child, WJXT reports.

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