Thousands of American students are less likely to attend school if they don’t have access to clean clothes – which is why this company is installing dozens of washing machines and dryers in schools across the country.
Appliance manufacturing company Whirlpool is donating the machines in order to give struggling students the ability to properly do their laundry.
In the coming school year, the program will be partnering with Teach For America to install washers and dryers in 60 new U.S. schools. Currently, the program only operates out of Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, children who are chronically absent in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade are much less likely to read on grade level by the third grade, and by high school, attendance is a better dropout indicator than test scores.
East High School in Utah reportedly has 80 homeless students out of 2,000. The students are either living in shelters, on the streets, or staying at friend’s houses. Since the school installed washing machines and dryers, they have proved invaluable to the homeless teens, as well as students whose families are too dysfunctional to own working laundry appliances.
“We know that several barriers prevent many underserved students from coming to school every day, whether it be lack of transportation or lack of access to clean clothes,” said a school representative from Georgia. “The stigma associated with this can cause long term effects on children, in many instances leading to them missing significant amounts of school.”
“We work hard to boost scholars’ confidence through academics and social/emotional work, and having clean uniforms will dramatically increase student confidence in order to approach the academic day with minimal challenges,” added another representative.
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Reprint (Photo by Jon Morgan / AP Images For Whirlpool)