Date of Conferral
Congressional concern about homeless students resulted in the McKinney-Vento Act (MCKV) in 2001, which provides funds to local educational agencies (LEAs). MCKV is almost a decade old, yet no evaluations of its academic effectiveness have been reported. Using a systems theory framework, this study answered research questions (RQs) involving whether normally housed students in Grade 6 scored higher than homeless students in Grade 6 in reading (RQ 1) and math (RQ 2) on end-of-grade (EOG) test scores and whether homeless students in Grade 6 from LEAs that received MCKV funding scored better in reading (RQ 3) and math (RQ 4) on EOG test scores than those from LEAs that did not. Data from 2006 and 2007 were provided by the North Carolina (NC) Department of Public Instruction. About 20% of the state's LEAs received MCKV grants, which created a treatment group (funded LEAs) and a control group (nonfunded LEAs). Based on t tests, the normally housed students scored significantly higher on EOG reading and math tests. Using untreated control group designs with matched pretests (Grade 5 EOG test scores) and posttests (Grade 6 EOG test scores), 2 x 2 ANOVAs with repeated measures failed to reject the null hypotheses for RQs 3 and 4. This study did not support the hypotheses that MCKV grants improved the academic achievement of homeless students. MCKV provides valuable services, but in NC, it does not support training programs for teachers, counselors, and social workers on improving academic achievement. The positive social change implication of this study is that concerned educators can use these results to lobby legislators to fund training to improve academic performance of homeless students in order to help break the cycle of homelessness.