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ERIC Number: EJ1046707
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 29
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 40
ISSN: EISSN-2327-3607
Removing Barriers: The Struggle to Ensure Educational Rights for Students Experiencing Homelessness
Nix-Hodes, Patricia; Heybach, Laurene M.
Critical Questions in Education, v5 n3 p143-171 Fall 2014
While the intent of the federal and state homeless education laws is clear, securing the educational rights of students without housing has been a long legal and political struggle in Chicago and Illinois. Education for students experiencing homelessness is a continuation of the civil rights struggle for equality in education and educational access. As the Supreme Court noted 60 years ago in "Brown v. Board of Education," "In these days it is doubtful that nay child may be expected to succeed in life if he [or she] is denied the opportunity of an education." The struggle for educational access for students experiencing homelessness in Chicago began in the late 1980s. Advocates in Chicago and nationally worked for passage of the 1987 federal Stewart B. McKinney Act ("the McKinney Act" or "the Act"), the first comprehensive federal response to homelessness. Although that Act provided for the first time a basic framework of educational rights for students without housing, it was not sufficiently strong or specific to make a significant impact on the education of children. Later amendments and, most importantly, the 2001 reauthorization strengthened the law so that today it is a strong law with civil rights and antidiscrimination principles that offers strong and specific protections to homeless students in school. Illinois has its own state law, the Illinois Education for Homeless Children Act (or "Charlie's Law) and a state policy that provides important educational rights. 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of Charlie's Law. Despite strong law and policy, legal advocacy was crucial to ensuring that students in Chicago benefited from the rights contained in the law. "Salazar v. Edwards" is a class action case filed on behalf of homeless parents and students in Chicago in 1992. Since that time it has been a tool to improve educational opportunities for Chicago's students. A long legal struggle has resulted in significantly improved compliance with the law but many challenges remain.
Academy for Educational Studies. 2419 Berkeley Street, Springfield, MO 65804. Tel: 417-299-1560; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Brown v Board of Education; Stewart B McKinney Homeless Assistance Act 1987