There was a bit of bad news that I overlooked last summer. The rate of homeless children enrolled in American schools during the 2008-09 school year increased by 41 percent over the 2006-2007 school year. A few states saw even more dramatic rises in homeless schoolchildren: Texas (139%), Iowa (136%), New Mexico (91%), Kansas (88%), and New Jersey (84%) all experienced more than double the national increase that year, so reported the Associated Press.
The hard numbers are that about 300,000 more schoolkids were enrolled that year than had been in the comparison year, which added up to about 1 million homeless schoolchildren across the country. As if the stark reality of a kid waking up in a homeless camp in time to catch the bus to school isn't enough, studies of homeless kids have concluded that 40 percent of homeless children under age five have emotional and behavioral problems and a full 75 percent of those same kids have developmental delays, ostensibly from malnourishment, hunger, stress and myriad emotional trauma.