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Title: Examining and Eliminating Barriers to Homeless Student Enrollment and Retention in Early Childhood Education Programs
Authors: Hernandez, Allen
Advisors: Markman-Pithers, Lisa
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: Empowering the socioeconomically disadvantaged is a major priority in America today, as poverty has increasingly been shown to be cyclical and nearly impossible to escape. In the diverse landscape of American poverty, homeless children constitute a group that is arguably the most vulnerable and the most in need, and as such, policymakers must work to equip this population with the tools necessary to succeed. Research increasingly indicates that education and enrichment in a child’s early years are vital for their success in school and later in life. Therefore, enrolling homeless students in early childhood education programs is a major goal in the broader conversations of homelessness, poverty, and socioeconomic mobility. In this study, a survey was administered to social workers, advocates, school administrators, and homeless education liaisons to examine their perceptions of early childhood education and the largest and most formidable barriers to the enrollment and retention of homeless students in programs. The results suggest that all groups feel that early childhood education is important and that knowledge, perceived cost, and logistical barriers are the most influential barriers in the connection of homeless students to pre-K. The paper concludes that policy must tackle these barriers especially. Recommendations include: more effective and exhaustive outreach to parents about the importance of early childhood education and their options for enrollment and funding; extensions of homeless student protections under the McKinney-Vento Act, including an expansion of the homeless education liaison system to better serve high-need areas and to bolster professional development, as well as increased funding for McKinney-Vento transportation costs; and broader efforts to eliminate stigma surrounding homeless status.
Extent: 100 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2016

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