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Advocates for Homeless Criticize Education Plan by Georgia Board

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A proposal being considered by the Georgia Board of Education as a way of ensuring that homeless children receive an education "comparable" to that provided to other children could lead to discrimination against those it is intended to protect, advocates for the homeless have charged.

At a public hearing in Atlanta this month, several advocates harshly criticized the board's recommendation that local boards be allowed to develop their own policies regarding the enrollment of the homeless.

Under the proposal, the state superintendent of schools would be authorized to resolve disputes over such policies.

According to state officials who attended the hearing, the plan's critics argued that granting such authority to local boards would result in inconsistent policies across the state. The critics contended that it would be more appropriate for the state board to issue a single, statewide mandate.

Several opponents said that homeless students often suffer discrimination as a result of policies implemented with helpful intentions that effectively label such children as different.

The education department plans to hold several more hearings on the proposal before it is submitted to the state board of education for approval.

--pw

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