Burning Questions: Educating The Homeless In Appleton | Appleton, Wisconsin | PostCrescent.com
The latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show 16.4 million children — more than 1 in 5 — across the country live in poverty.
It’s not just children who live in the inner city, or struggling rural towns. It’s not just children of color or from a particular ethnic group newly arrived in the country. And it’s not just children from single-parent households. Poverty today touches families in all walks of life.
The Fox Cities aren’t immune from the causes and the effects of poverty, with families here increasingly affected by the recent recession and ailing economy. Job losses, foreclosures and evictions have taken a toll. Stacks of utility bills are going unpaid. Refrigerators and cupboards are bare. Food pantry lines are getting longer. A family of four with an income at or below $22,000 lives below the poverty line.
Students’ eligibility for free and reduced-price breakfasts and lunches at school is an indicator of poverty. In Appleton, the largest school district in this area, the number of children who qualify for the meals subsidized by the federal government has risen from 17 percent to 35-36 percent in the last decade.
Kendra Vandertie, Appleton’s homeless education coordinator and an associate principal at Huntley Elementary School, and Pam Franzke, an associate principal at Ferber and Johnston elementary schools, appeared on Thursday’s edition of Newsmakers, a weekly interview show at postcrescent.com, to discuss the issue of homeless students and how the district tries to help them.