Weekly Roundup

New Federal Policies for Education of Homeless Children Take Effect Next Year; Decision Impacts Every School District Nationwide, National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, April 5, 2016

“WASHINGTON, April 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced that key policies related to homelessness in the recently enacted “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA) will take effect on October 1, 2016, one school year earlier than other parts of the law. This decision means that revised policies and practices must be in place in school districts across the country to ensure the identification, enrollment, stability, and success of homeless children and youth.

[…]

Key components of the new law include:

  • Designating appropriate school personnel with training to identify, enroll and support homeless students;
  • Increasing school stability for homeless children and youth, so they can stay in their same school throughout their homelessness when it is in their best interest to do so;
  • Improving graduation readiness by ensuring college counseling and access to documentation for financial aid;
  • Assisting young homeless children to access early childhood programs; and
  • Authorizing more funding to support school district efforts to identify and serve children and youth experiencing homelessness.”

Student suspensions can add to a downward spiral, data suggest, Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, The CT Mirror, April 6, 2016

“Students need to be at school to learn, but new state data show that many children expelled or suspended because they act out are among those likely to miss the most school and perform less well academically.

‘Students receiving disciplinary sanctions are experiencing substantial attendance and performance issues,’ reads a presentation prepared for the State Board of Education’s Wednesday meeting. ‘Suspensions and expulsions may exacerbate academic deterioration. Receipt of even one suspension is associated with higher likelihood of academic failure, school dropout, and involvement in the juvenile justice system.'”

In the World:

Revised Child Law, Pioneering Child Rights, Viet Nam News, April 2, 2106:

“The revised Law on Child Protection, Care and Education will be voted on this Tuesday, during the ongoing final meeting of the 13th National Assembly. Much attention has been focused on raising the legal age of a child in Việt Nam from 16 to 18. Việt Nam News spoke to child specialists about this issue.

[…]

Using 18 as the age to define a child does not mean that 18 must be legislated as the age for all matters relating to children. Recognizing that children develop and grow over time, national laws can set different ages at which children are considered capable of making decisions or taking part in certain activities. For example, national laws may say that a child is able to drive a motorbike at the age of 16, is considered criminally responsible at the age of 14, and can engage in light work at the age of 15.  However, in recognition that they are not yet fully mature, all children under the age of 18 are entitled to special care and protection. Both parents and the Government continue to owe a special duty to children until they reach adulthood.

By defining a child as one under 18 years old, Việt Nam can extend protection of rights to cover all children, and avoid the risk that children aged 16-18 years fall through the gaps.”

End of China’s one-child policy is slowly giving ‘ghost children’ identities, Nathan Vanderklippe, The Globe and Mail, April 3, 2016

For two years since her second child was born, Eva Kuang debated how to make her son legal.

Because he was born in contravention of China’s one-child policy, local authorities demanded that she pay a $60,000 fine before they would assign him a hukou household registration. Without that, he would have no right to function legally in his own country and be denied vaccinations, health care, education and employment.

China ended its one-child policy this year, but “ghost children” like Ms. Kuang’s son remained, stuck in a system that demanded heavy penance for bearing illegal children. Even at the age of 2, he had already felt the weight of being different: He could not travel with his mother, who also warned that he might not be able to attend kindergarten.

That suddenly changed last week, as authorities in Beijing quietly began to strip away one of the last vestiges of a decades-long policy responsible for untold hardship in China – allowing Ms. Kuang and others like her to give their children legal status without first paying punishing fines.

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