In Vista, Calif., about 35 miles north of San Diego, the population of homeless kids in the local school district reached 2,542 this year — about 9 percent of the student body and nearly 10 times the number just two years ago. . . .
In a voluntary survey late last year by the association and another nonprofit, First Focus, 330 school districts reported that the number of homeless students appears to be . . . now close to 1 million — exceeding numbers in the period right after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita . . . .
Fearing the loss of their kids, she said, "parents call in and say their kid won't be in school because they are going to Disneyland for a week, when the fact is that (they) don’t have a way to get them to school. Or parents will tell kids to lie about where they live."
Interestingly, one of the ways I help my students understand the difference between the way poor parents and middle-class parents relate to schools is to ask my students how many of them would be worried that a teacher might report them to social services and take their kids away. Lareau's study showed this was a common fear of working-class parents. Almost none of my students ever raise their hands.