MassINC is proud to release Going for Growth: New Education-Housing Partnerships to Stabilize Families and Boost Student Achievement, the fourth brief in a series exploring policy innovations to spur reinvestment and renewal in the state's key regional cities.
Extensive research documents the negative consequences that student mobility – the churn of youth entering and exiting classrooms during the school year – has on the academic performance of both students who change schools, as well as those left behind in unstable classrooms.
Gateway Cities are heavily impacted by the challenges associated with student turnover. In just these 11 communities, nearly 30,000 students transfer into or out of public schools during the academic year, about one-fifth of all students. In many individual Gateway City schools, a third or more of all students transfer in or out during the year.
While students change schools for many reasons, housing insecurity is responsible for a large share of the student mobility in Gateway City districts. Most low-income families served by schools in these communities lack savings and credit that they can fall back on to make rent and mortgage payments when they are laid off, a family member becomes ill, or they experience some other adverse economic event.
Neighborhood instability is another housing-related driver of student mobility. Many Gateway City schools draw their students from distressed neighborhoods, where crime and other undesirable conditions mean families are especially likely to relocate.
This short brief, a companion to a study conducted by the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy looking at school-based strategies, focuses on housing interventions. The paper catalogs areas of housing policy that could be adapted to reduce student mobility and presents near term recommendations for Gateway City leaders working to address the student mobility challenge.