Whirlpool Provides Free Washing Machines To School So That Students Don't Drop Out

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Education in the US has a laundry problem. As teachers nationwide report, one in five students struggle with access to clean clothes.

Whirlpool Provides Free Washing Machines To School So That Students Don't Drop Out

Education in the US has a laundry problem. As teachers nationwide report, one in five students struggle with access to clean clothes. This leads to students missing school—and those kids that miss school are seven times more likely to drop out.


When the Whirlpool laundry brand heard about that hidden problem of chronic absenteeism, it decided to break down that barrier to attendance by providing schools access to clean clothes—and it is working.


Embarking on its 5th year, the Care Counts laundry program has now grown to support students in need across 18 American cities, providing laundry machines for over 38,000 students in 82 schools around the country.


For the first time ever, Care Counts is inviting schools which serve low-income families in the US to apply for a laundry pair to bring the program to even more students.


Whirlpool Provides Free Washing Machines To School So That Students Don't Drop Out

Whirlpool


By analyzing the most recent data from the 2018-2019 school year, Whirlpool discovered more promising results:


  • This program contributed to increased attendance rates with 3 out of 4 high-risk elementary school participants missing less school. Missing over one day of school per month could mean missing the lesson on learning how to count with other students or how to read basic sentences.
  • Participating high-risk elementary school kids attended more than one more day of school per month during the program, projecting to 11 more days annually. Those 11 extra days in school for kids can make the difference between getting back on track academically as well as falling significantly behind classmates.
  • Over two-thirds of participating elementary school kids at risk for chronic absenteeism had an increase in their grades during the program.

With research over the years demonstrating the program has the most significant impact on high-risk elementary school students, the expansion will focus on qualified Title I elementary schools in the US. Whirlpool is collaborating with CSC Serviceworks, an industry leader in installation and service, to help even more schools combat the laundry crisis.


With Dr. Rende's help, Whirlpool collects and analyzes anonymized laundry and school attendance data to show that access to clean clothes improves attendance.


The program is pivoting in 2019-2020 academic year to study the longitudinal impact of clean clothes on educational development. To keep a pulse on the program's effectiveness, new regions involved in the collection of anonymous laundry, attendance and grades data include Philadelphia, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Miami.


Whirlpool is working with Teach For America to identify those qualified and at-need schools.


The first phase of this pilot study in 2015-2016 demonstrated that the program is feasible and sustainable for schools. A second phase from 2016-2019 noted significant increases in attendance after implementation of the program for elementary and middle school kids at risk for chronic and problematic levels of absenteeism.

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Thinking Humanity: Whirlpool Provides Free Washing Machines To School So That Students Don't Drop Out
Whirlpool Provides Free Washing Machines To School So That Students Don't Drop Out
Education in the US has a laundry problem. As teachers nationwide report, one in five students struggle with access to clean clothes.
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