Reports: Homeless, foster kids face enormous hurdles in trying to get to college


Only in a nation of bootstraps fairy tales could one imagine that it was any other way:

While the path from kindergarten through college can be tough for anyone, two government reports released this month outline the particular difficulties facing poor black and Hispanic students, as well as the higher education hurdles confronting homeless and foster youth.

One Government Accountability Office (GAO) study shows increasing isolation of poor students of color in K-12 education. And, their schools have fewer resources.

Another GAO report says homeless and foster youth graduate from college at a sharply lower rate than other students. The two groups also have a difficult time navigating bureaucratic rules that make it harder for them to secure financial aid for college.

“Over time, there has been a large increase in schools that are the most isolated by poverty and race,” says its report on disparities and racial discrimination in K-12 schooling.

During the 2000-2001 academic year, schools classified as high-poverty black or Hispanic were 9 percent of all public schools. By the 2013-2014 school year, that had jumped to 16 percent. These are schools where at least 75 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced lunch and at least three-quarters of the study body are black or Hispanic. The number of students in these schools doubled to 8.4 million.

For poorer students, the growth in racially separate facilities was dramatic.

“Specifically, according to our analysis of [Department of] Education’s data,” GAO said “the number of schools where 90 to 100 percent of the students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and 90 to 100 percent of the students were Black or Hispanic grew by 143 percent from school years 2000-01 to 2013-14.”

GAO also found “multiple disparities, including access to academic courses,” fewer resources and more disciplinary actions in those schools.

The GAO report can be found here.


And your solution is? Mine is charter schools




Because teachers unions have trapped poor kids in substandard schools. These “hurdles” are put in place by a dysfunctional public school system where bureaucracies and teachers take precedence over educating the children


In the face of such social devastation, financial problems, and failure of public schools, one is put to wonder why the concern is college attendance.

Of course they face enormous hurdles. If one is never taught proper English, is never taught to spell or do math or write a sentence, is the child of a single mom or is a foster child due to abuse and/or neglect, one would face enormous hurdles. But succeeding in college would be the least serious of them.

I agree that charter schools or even government vouchers to attend private schools would help a lot. If the public schools are failing, then why continue to follow the failed pattern?

But what about employment? Perhaps the problem is not so much failing to get into college as it is failing to get a decent job for generations. Perhaps a good part of it is a welfare/drug culture that promotes everything except succeeding at anything.

And, as unpopular as it may be, what about law enforcement? If drug dealers roam around enticing children into being pushers or users or both, is there really a good reason to be sympathetic to the violators?

I think we’re a long, long way from solving college entrance problems for these young people. We’re so far away from that being the problem we can’t even see it from here.


Well, regarding law enforcement and the drug problem thats really about job security and budgets, without a ‘drug problem’ not much need for so many law enforcement agents and agencies to combat it (or the associated crimes).

I dont understand why they are not pushing trade schools more today…I keep hearing college, college…but trade schools are 2-3 years, MUCH cheaper and guaranteed jobs at graduation…??


I question whether there is any conspiracy among law enforcement people to encourage drug use to ensure job security. I think drug use has its own dynamic; part of which is pure predation on the part of dealers and part of which is a culture that encourages its use or at least doesn’t discourage it.

But I agree with your second statement. I’m not even sure post-secondary trade schools are necessary for most. A lot of trades can be taught at the high school level. I do think the use of them has fallen off in recent years, though.

Another important source of trade education is through employment; sometimes employment that’s fairly low level to begin with. I know the factories around here have deals with junior colleges to teach specific skills. The factories often pay the full cost of it. Some of those associate degrees aren’t in anything glamorous. Some I can think of are animal nutrition, wastewater management, hydraulics, computer tech, refrigeration. Those skills alone won’t make you rich, but they can sure get you advancement into a fully middle class living.


You’re usually very sensible, which makes it curious that you veered far off into left field.


Getting into college is one thing; graduating from college is another.

College is expensive. Most who attend take on debt, *especially *if they don’t have parents with the financially resources to pay four + years of full tuition and all the related living expenses. I read another article recently that looked about poor people who attended college without actually graduating. That article concluded most who attended college without graduating would be financially better off if they had not gone to college.


And jobs for their parents, am shocked 90+% of kids qualify for lunch subsidies.


Perhaps they have jobs but they just do not pay enough. Over the years, we’ve often floated just above or just below the cut-off.

Where we live, there is little to no public transportation. Which means that if you fall below a certain level and thus cannot acquire or keep a vehicle, it becomes extremely difficult to get a job beyond entry wage, esp. if you have to co-ordinate child care as well. If you made a mistake and have a criminal record of any kind it becomes nearly impossible.

My suggestion would be revive the old bookmobile idea - except make it a teaching/tech mobile - something to supplement the current school systems (which need lots of work of their own). My thought is that if you bring the opportunities to the families who really want more (whether you target the adults or the children), then you’re making an immediate difference in the lives of those who are most likely to overcome their challenges and succeed.

closed #12

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit