Student Mobility on the Rise

June 26, 2008 07:00 AM
by Sarah Amandolare
The housing crisis is fueling a high student turnover rate in classrooms across the country, threatening educational progress by hampering teachers’ efforts.

30-Second Summary

According to The New York Times, a high student turnover rate “is increasingly recognized as a threat to education,” prompting the Michigan Department of Human Services to create a rent subsidy program to encourage low-income families to stay put.

Student mobility is fueled by immigration, parents changing jobs or divorcing, and the high cost of housing, which causes renters to jump from one home to the next. “The shift of kids in and out of the classroom interrupts the educational process,” said Robert C. Pianta, a professor of education at the University of Virginia.

High student turnover is a nationwide problem, and has been getting more attention as schools struggle to meet government demands for accountability, such as No Child Left Behind. The problem is difficult for teachers trying to follow a year-by-year plan of improvement.

“It becomes a different school, because the core of the students you’re educating has changed,” said Dr. David Kerbow, who has studied student mobility as an education researcher at the University of Chicago.

Moving from school to school causes students to “miss learning critical skills and fall quickly behind their peers,” according to the Community Renewal Society of Chicago.

Kerbow told The New York Times that students who remain in the same school also suffer, as new students require extra teacher attention getting settled, and less new material is introduced. “The learning trajectory over time is flattened,” said Kerbow.

Headline Links: Student turnover threat

Background: Teachers face revolving door classrooms

Related Topics: Debating No Child Left Behind

Reference: findingDulcinea Education Web Guide


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