"It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex."
Article IX Section 1 SECTION 1 PREAMBLE.
Constitution of the State of Washington
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|DName||Tot_District_ _Pop||District_Enrollment||ChildinDistrict||ChildPov||OSPI_K-12 Homeless||PCT_Poverty||PCT_Homeless|
The chart and table above aggregate 2013 SAIPE Poverty and Income Data with 2013-2014 (School Year) OSPI Student Homeless Data for the 9 School Districts that are in whole or in part inside Whatcom County. Zoom your browser window to enlarge this table.Some statistical projects are gratifying to work on . This one really was not. Poverty brackets are exceptionally low household income numbers. The federal poverty rate for a family of four with two children is less than $24K. Although the largest school district (Bellingham) in Whatcom County has the highest number school children in poverty in total, the percentage of children in poverty in the more rural school districts is much higher. The data in the post below comes from Census.gov SAIPE or Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates and OSPI Homeless Student Data Report for 2013 and 2014. In the charts below, I detail homelessness and poverty for Whatcom County school children based on SAIPE school district estimates. Code for the charts can be found here and here.
As a data blogger, I can't vouch for the integrity of the data collections I analyze nor can I provide solutions for the tragedy of homelessness and poverty it exposes in our county. I can however, find creative ways to quantify their impacts upon our budgets, governments, school systems, communities and families. I also can point out that a housed and fed population of school children is a not just the moral responsibility of a just world but the duty and mandate of all us and our constructed democratic governments.
I can scarcely believe that any of us could imagine all of the deficits poverty and homelessness create for youth in pursuit of their education. In a state that specifically included the education of children as a 'paramount duty' to be exercised without regard to caste, one could speculate on whether or not a county that does not build adequate affordable housing and provide adequate food banks is interfering with the mandates of McCleary to provide for a "basic education" to all students.
Notes on the DataAll the school district data is for 2013 and/or 2014 for both OSPI and SAIPE. In places, I have aggregated SAIPE 2013 data with OSPI data for the 2013 - 2014 school year. Although, this is not strictly good statistical practice, it was useful to plot in parallel data for both homelessness and poverty for school children in the same district for what is approximately the same time periods.
The SAIPE data looks at all children in these nine school districts. The OSPI looks at K- 12 enrolled children. Of the nine school districts in which Whatcom County participates, two are shared with Skagit County (Concrete and Sedro-Woolley).
To date, I have no data that allows me to separate the populations of those two school districts based on county residence. To date, I also have no method of determining if the 1,004 homeless students in those nine districts are a subset of the 5, 618 children living in poverty in those districts. Homelessness is mandated by federal law to be measured more broadly and frequently among school children in WA, than the once of a year "Point in Time" estimates frequently used across the United States. Thus, the 553 homeless individuals "counted on a single day in January" in Whatcom County [ See WCCEH, 2014] is nearly half that of the 1,004 homeless students tracked yearly by OSPI for the nine school districts of Whatcom County.
Poverty in Whatcom County School DistrictsWhatcom County shares two school districts with Skagit. (An excellent map of WA state school districts can be seen here.) Although the data I have assembled can't help me extrapolate for the those that live in the two counties explicitly, the K - 12 school child population for these nine districts is 35,363. 5,618 of those students in those nine school districts live at the poverty level or below.
FIPS CCDID DName TotPop Children ChildreninPoverty
1 53 420 Bellingham 104767 12340 1908
2 53 570 Blaine 16388 2380 420
3 53 1660 Concrete 4921 717 168
4 53 2850 Ferndale 31180 5885 912
5 53 4620 Lynden 18863 3612 397
6 53 5010 Meridian 10032 1630 249
7 53 5310 MountBaker 14724 2573 515
8 53 5670 NooksackValley 10317 1996 304
9 53 7740 Sedro-Woolley 26646 4491 745
Totals for all nine districts including shared districts (Concrete,Sedro-Woolley):
TotPop Children ChildreninPoverty
237838 35624 5618
Totals for districts solely located inside Whatcom County include Bellingham, Blaine, Ferndale, Lynden, Meridian, Mount Baker, Nooksack Valley.:
TotPop Children ChildreninPoverty
206271 30416 4705
Click on these charts to enlarge.
|For 2013, a family of four with two children lives in Poverty if they have income of $23,624 or less. Poverty levels and methodology links for the census can be found here.|
Here are the top 25 WA school districts in WA for children in poverty (total) and as a district percentage. There is little intersection of members to these separate lists. Clearly, the larger urban school districts as a whole have more children in poverty. Many if not most of the smaller, rural districts however have a much higher percentage of their children in poverty.
Children In Poverty in District Count Children In Poverty / Children in District PCT
1 Seattle 9766 Benge 60
2 Tacoma 8425 Keller 49
3 Spokane 7967 Tukwila 45
4 Kent 6135 Evergreen-Stevens 44
5 Highline 5692 Northport 43
6 Vancouver 5354 SouthBend 42
7 FederalWay 5110 Wishram 40
8 Yakima 4974 Morton 38
9 Evergreen-Clark 4893 Orient 38
10 CloverPark 4305 Oroville 38
11 Pasco 4151 Skykomish 37
12 Auburn 3715 Taholah 37
13 Renton 3617 Wapato 37
14 Kennewick 3447 Nespelem 36
15 Edmonds 3277 Pateros 36
16 Everett 2977 Palisades 35
17 Bethel 2916 Star 35
18 Mukilteo 2758 UnionGap 35
19 NorthThurston 2541 SummitValley 34
20 Puyallup 2538 Toppenish 34
21 CentralValley 2079 CloverPark 33
22 FranklinPierce 1984 Granger 32
23 Bellevue 1978 NorthRiver 32
24 Sunnyside 1974 OnionCreek 32
25 Bellingham 1908 Crescent 31
Below is a rather unwieldy (2013 SAIPE) chart of the collected 294 WA School Districts containing 196,162 school children attached to a household living in Poverty. Clicking to enlarge will not make the county names more visible.
Homelessness in Whatcom County School Districts
"Washington state school districts are identifying and serving increasing numbers of homeless students every year, and the numbers continue to rise. Between the 2008-09 school year and 2013- 14 school year, Washington state experienced a 56% increase in the number of enrolled homeless students reported by school districts. In many cases, school is the only stable or safe place for children and youth who are experiencing the instability of disrupted housing and high mobility. Knowing that homelessness impacts both the academic and the social-emotional well-being of students, it is critical for school districts to have the resources and supports necessary to ensure that all vulnerable children and youth, particularly those experiencing homelessness, are identified, served and supported." From Homeless Student Data 2013 - 2014
Homelessness among students has been on the rise in Washington State. The count of homelessness among students is more encompassing than the one day "Point in Time" estimate of all sheltered and unsheltered homeless done once each year in January. The OSPI legally mandated definition of homelessness is also broader [ See WCCEH, 2014] . For WA as a whole, homelessness is on the rise for K - 12 students in WA state.
DistrictName TotPop DistrictEnrollment SAChild SAChildPovHH CountHomeless
1 Bellingham 104767 11136 12340 1908 471
2 Blaine 16388 2120 2380 420 49
3 Concrete 4921 542 717 168 26
4 Ferndale 31180 5174 5885 912 126
5 Lynden 18863 2842 3612 397 58
6 Meridian 10032 1790 1630 249 41
7 MountBaker 14724 1880 2573 515 52
8 NooksackValley 10317 1574 1996 304 49
9 Sedro-Woolley 26646 4305 4491 745 173
Here are the top 25 WA school districts in WA for children in homelessness (total) and as a district percentage. There is little intersection of members to these separate lists. Clearly, the larger urban school districts as a whole have more children in homelessness. Many if not most of the smaller, rural districts however have a much higher percentage of their children in poverty.
|Children In Homelessness in District||Count||Children In Homelessness / District Enrollment||PCT|
|Seattle Public Schools||2225||Orondo||47|
|Evergreen (Clark)||692||North Beach||19|
"Most homeless students were part of homeless families; however, a substantial proportion of all homeless students in Whatcom County schools (21%) were unaccompanied, meaning they were no longer part of a family. They may have been “couch surfing”, finding shelter unstably at one or more friends’ or relatives’ housing, or they may have been unsheltered or in youth emergency shelter or transitional housing. Bellingham had the highest proportion of unaccompanied homeless students (28%), followed by Blaine (24%), Mount Baker (21%), Ferndale (15%), and Lynden (10%). Meridian and Nooksack Valley School Districts reported no unaccompanied homeless students. " From Whatcom County Coalition to End Homelessness 2014 Report Annual Report
|Source: Whatcom County Coalition to End Homelessness 2014 Report Annual Report|