CLC team members, including policy attorney Renee Murphy, recently shared their insight about funding for "at-risk students" in DC with the Washington Post.
Students are defined as at-risk if they are homeless, recipients of welfare or food stamps, or are more than a year behind in high school. About 44 percent of the nearly 100,000 District students in traditional public and charter schools are considered at-risk.
The extra money for those students is supposed to mitigate the effects of poverty, which can make learning more challenging. Renee Murphy, a senior policy attorney at the Children’s Law Center, said many of her clients are D.C. children in the foster-care system who face significant traumas that can affect brain and language development. The at-risk-program funds are needed to provide those children with extra therapists, behavioral specialists and opportunities to catch up on work.
Attorneys at the Children’s Law Center said the school system is not transparent about its spending, making it difficult to figure out how money for at-risk students is spent. D.C. Council member Robert C. White Jr. (D-At Large), who sits on the council’s education committee, called for greater clarity.