The number of homeless students in the United States has hit a record high, according to new data from the Department of Education.
The raw numbers are shocking: in the 2011 school year, 1,168,354 homeless children were enrolled in preschools and K-12 programs. Even more disturbing is the trend those numbers show: nationally, they represent a 10 percent jump over the previous school year, and a stunning 72 percent increase since the beginning of the recession in 2008.
The crisis is not confined to any one region. Forty-three states reported a rise in the number of homeless kids, and 10 showed jumps of more than 20 percent, according to a compilation of the DOE data assembled by the National Center for Homeless Education [PDF].