When Families Move A Lot, Kids’ Education Suffers

June 11, 2009 08:00 AM
by Anita Gutierrez-Folch
Difficult economic conditions have fueled an increase in housing mobility among low-income families, causing kids more stress and less continuity in the classroom.

Relocated Children Stress More, Achieve Less

With more families moving more often, children are dealing with more stress both within the home and within the school system. As the Associated Press reports, demographers and educators agree that frequent moves can lower a child’s performance in school and increase the chances that a student will drop out of school altogether.

Ana Leon, a counselor at Wilton Manors Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., told the AP that the families of many of the students at her mostly low-income school were forced to relocate due to a lack of job opportunities. ''Mobility is one of the main things that hinders student achievement,'' Leon told the AP.

Changes in a family’s living conditions, such as unemployment or family members sharing household space, can also increase the stress level within the home and disrupt normal family dynamics. Sophea Chom, a student at South Junior High in Boise, Idaho, told the AP that her father had been recently laid off from his job at a computer company. ''Currently my mother's brother lives in the house with us, so it's all chaos and catastrophe,'' she said. “My dad is getting grouchier by the moment.''

Background: Student turnover

Last year, the housing crisis was already fueling a high student turnover rate in classrooms across the country. Immigration, parents changing jobs or divorcing, and the high cost of housing, which causes renters to jump from one home to the next, were all seen as contributing factors in student mobility, consequently threatening educational progress by hampering teachers’ efforts.

Related Topic: Easing the transition for children

Although moving can be a stressful and demanding process, there are ways to emphasize the positive aspects of a move, such as the opportunity for a fresh start. In the “The Moving Blues,” TeensHealth offers advice for kids on how to deal with the worries and concerns surrounding a move. The article also emphasizes the positive aspects of a move: “you may discover that it has taught you some valuable skills: how to make new friends, be flexible, and find your way around strange places.”

Reference: Education Web Guide


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