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School's in...but no one's home: An educational alternative for homeless children

1 December 1993


This study examines an alternative education program for homeless children. The Franklin School is located in the center of a northwest city. It is a program sponsored by HSPC, a well-known social services organization. My observations led me to believe that although the Franklin school was providing fifty homeless children with an education, it was an education that was not appropriate or ultimately beneficial for the children.

The literature review examines the problem of educating the homeless child. It also shows the numbers and statistics which point out a great need for educational alternatives for homeless children. The literature is limited in the area of examining alternative educational programs in greater detail. This is one reason this study was undertaken.

The methodologies included direct observations and interviews with the"). participants in the program. This information allowed for a complete and thorough qualitative investigation of the Franklin School.

The analysis implies that although the Franklin School believed it was providing homeless children with a "normal" school environment, that was not the case. Instead, the children were being forced into an education that did not seem relevant or individualized. Suggestions are made regarding the need for evaluation and improvement at the Franklin school. Suggestions are also made for an alternative program that may seem more appropriate for homeless children.

The implications of this study are that an effective education must be relevant; not only for homeless children but for children of all lifestyles and situations. If a child does not see the purpose of learning, or does not have a reason to learn, the education will be ineffective and wasted. An education should offer every child the chance to discover new paths and ways of learning for herself.


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