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Assessing Student Mobility and its Consequences: A 3-District Case Study. Education Finance Research Consortium Albany, New York October 19, 2007 Kai Schafft, Penn State University (kas45@psu.edu) Kieran M. Killeen, University of Vermont (kieran.killeen@uvm.edu).

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assessing student mobility and its consequences a 3 district case study

Assessing Student Mobility and its Consequences:A 3-District Case Study

Education Finance Research Consortium

Albany, New York

October 19, 2007

Kai Schafft, Penn State University

(kas45@psu.edu)

Kieran M. Killeen, University of Vermont (kieran.killeen@uvm.edu)

purpose of the presentation
Purpose of the Presentation
  • Using a mixed method case study of 3 contiguous rural New York school districts we ask:
  • What is the incidence of student mobility in these districts?
  • What appear to be its causes?
  • What appear to be its academic, behavioral and institutional outcomes?
  • What are the policy implications?
overview of presentation
Overview of Presentation
  • Background
    • Mobility and poverty intersections
  • Study design
    • Study sites
    • Mixed method design
  • Findings
    • Causes of student mobility
    • Consequences of mobility
      • Individual
      • Classroom
      • District
      • Academic
  • Conclusions
background student mobility
Background: Student Mobility
  • Student mobility refers to child movement between schools for reasons other than grade promotion.
  • Student mobility is largely a factor of household residential change.
slide5

Background: Student Mobility & Poverty

  • Evidence Shows the Poor Move With Far Greater Frequency than Non-poor
    • Nationally, 23.4% of children in poverty changed residence within the last year as compared to 11.8% of those children not in poverty.
    • In New York State, 15.8% of children in poverty changed residence within the last year as compared to 7.0% of those children not in poverty.

Figures from National Center for Children in Poverty, calculated from U.S. Census

Current Population Survey data.

background student mobility poverty
Background: Student Mobility & Poverty

Residential movement is often assumed to be a movement towards some opportunity – a positive “PULL” towards the place of destination (e.g. job, school, etc.)

For poor families movement is instead often the result of a negative “PUSH” away from the place of origin (e.g. unsafe or unaffordable housing, job loss, etc.)

Shift to lower paying retail and service sectors; shifts in labor market demands; mobile labor;

Regional

Affordability and availability of adequate housing;

Conversion of housing stock to rentals

Community

Unstable jobs

Family dissolution

Inadequate housing

Individual

Conditions that Stimulate Mobility among

Low SES Households

slide7

Research Design, Data and

Analytic Approaches

  • A Mixed-Method Case Study
    • Study sites
    • Qualitative Data
    • Quantitative Data
slide10

Research Design, Data and

Analytic Approaches

QUALITATIVE

  • 30 semi-structured interviews with educators and school district administrators from all three districts. All respondents with at least 4 year’s of professional experience within the district.
  • Additional stratification criteria:
    • Superintendent or assistant
    • At least 2 elementary school teachers
    • At least 2 secondary teachers
    • At least 1 special education teacher
    • At least 1 guidance staff member
    • At least 1 principal
  • Analysis utilized QSR NUD*IST software for thematic coding of interview transcriptions.
slide11

Research Design, Data and

Analytic Approaches

QUANTITATIVE

  • Pooled data from Clyde-Savannah and Lyons School Districts for two academic years, 2005-2006 and 2006-2007.
    • Student mobility record files
    • Student IMS (SchoolMaster)
    • Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES student achievement data, Grades 3-12
  • Only students enrolled for two or more days, in grades K-12 were included in this file.
  • Students enrolled in Pre-K or GED programs are not included.
  • 4,221 student records are included in the pooled datafile
consequences of mobility
Consequences of Mobility:

Poverty

Family Instability

Community Decline

putting a human face on poverty and mobility
Putting a Human Face on Poverty and Mobility

Case Study of “Paul,” aged 40, divorced with 3 school-aged children.

Over a 5-year period, Paul made 9 residential moves, resulting in a total of 15 school changes for his children. Why?

slide14

A workplace injury results in the loss of work as an electrician, household stress and marriage dissolution. Moves in with friend in Georgia, returns to New York to assist with childcare. Divorce finalized, and Paul takes custody of children.

slide15

Unable to afford rent, Paul and his children move in temporarily with his sister’s family. They live in the basement. In total 8 people live in the residence.

School change for children.

slide16

Finds a room to sublet at farmhouse where labor can be exchanged for rent. No electricity and poor housing conditions.

School change for children.

slide17

New apartment is unstable, as landlord is foreclosed upon by bank. Facing a sheriff’s eviction, the Department of Social Services places family in hotel.

slide18

Department of Social Services places Paul and children in a small apartment. While there they sleep on air mattresses in sleeping bags. School change for children.

They leave when faced with another sheriff's eviction for landlord nonpayment of mortgage.

slide19

They are placed by DSS in a hotel.

Paul drives children to school so they will not face another school change.

geography of mobility the perspective of educators administrators
Geography of Mobility(The perspective of educators & administrators)

These are families “who do not have a lot of money. They have low income. They may have only one car or no car. Some people have no cars. So they are sort of rooted….when the children have to move or leave, they are not going to Aunt Jenny in California. They are going to the neighboring town. These people stay there because they have nowhere else.”

- Elementary school teacher

causes of mobility the perspective of educators administrators
Causes of Mobility(The perspective of educators & administrators)

Poverty and Insecurity

“Overall the economic status in this community is not very high. It just seems the economic status and the family breakdown is kind of like a combined picture. I think that what ends up happening is families are not together anymore. The whole environment has changed. (Students) go back and forth from one parent to another and the parent moves from one community to another.”

- High school teacher

causes of mobility the perspective of educators administrators23
Causes of Mobility(The perspective of educators & administrators)

Housing Issues: Affordability, Adequacy, Availability

“I had a family last year…about five different children. Their house was not livable. They found a place up in (a neighboring district). They were driving the kids in…in the back of a pickup and dropping them off out in front. We were aware that they were doing this, but they were also in the process of trying to find another place to live in the community.”

- Elementary School Principal

causes of mobility the perspective of educators administrators24
Causes of Mobility(The perspective of educators & administrators)
  • What it’s not:
  • Job/employment “pulls”
  • Migrant populations
  • Long-distance moves
  • What it is:
  • Short distance residential change
  • Local, often intergenerational poor families
  • A consequence of poverty, social distress and inadequate housing availability
when does mobility occur
When does mobility occur?
  • Using time as a criterion for a mobility event, the frequency of new student enrollment varies considerably over a calendar year.
  • For example, of the 386 students newly enrolled to the districts, approximately half of them (51%) enrolled between May 31 and September 20th of the academic year.
slide27

Distribution of new enrollees by week

Late movers

Movers = Enrollment 5/31 – 9/20

Late movers

iii b mobility consequences
III. B. Mobility Consequences

Issues of individual attendance, transition and presence

“They are the kind of kid that blends into the woodwork,” said a special education teacher. “They do not make friends easily, most of them. They do not like to interact with teachers a lot. So they tend to shy away.”

iii b mobility consequences29
III. B. Mobility Consequences
  • Issues of individual attendance, transition and presence
  • Mobile students in our database tend to experience notably different attendance patterns in school when compared to their non-mobile peers.
    • Mobile students on average enroll in the same school for 134 days compared with 163 for their non-mobile peers.
    • Despite fewer days of full enrollment, they also have greater average levels of excused and unexcused absences from school.
    • With such absenteeism and late enrollment in any one district, a mobile student attends 25.8% less school than a non-mobile peer.
iii b mobility consequences30
III. B. Mobility Consequences

Issues at the classroom level

An elementary school teacher told us, “you do not have enough time as it is so here you are trying to get catch this child up and it is almost like you feel you are swimming upstream….I am sure the child feels that way too.”

iii b mobility consequences31
III. B. Mobility Consequences

Issues at the classroom level

A middle school teacher told us, “it really affects the classroom as far as trying to figure as a teacher’s point of view, trying to figure out where they were when they left and how do I get them to where they need to be.”

iii b mobility consequences32
III. B. Mobility Consequences

Issues at the classroom level

Despite being enrolled in school for less time than non-mobile students, mobile students have higher average levels of disciplinary problems.

For example, Late Movers averaged 13 disciplinary infractions every 100 days, compared with non-mobile kids who averaged just five (p < .05)

iii b mobility consequences33
III. B. Mobility Consequences

Issues at the classroom level

“They are one of those groups that falls through, and you hear in the office sometimes where they will say ‘oh don’t worry this one is not going to be here long.’ So if they are not invested at the top level, it is hard for you to invest. They are kind of saying to you ‘don’t bother.’”

--Elementary School Teacher

iii b mobility consequences34
III. B. Mobility Consequences

Issues at the district level

“We have a fair number of kids come in who are classified. I think we spend about $7,000 per student, you know classified students. You divide that with Special Ed teachers and things like that and I think it jumps up to around $20,000. So financially I think if you have a lot of influx of kids who have IUPs or emotional problems and those kinds of things, it could be a strain on the school financially. There should not be a strain at all, but I mean it is reality.”

--Secondary school teacher

iii b mobility consequences36
III. B. Mobility Consequences

Issues at the district level

“The reimbursement is always a year late. So if you are running fairly lean and closed to the vest and you can plan on reimbursements from state aid and things that you know you are going to get the following year when you can plan for them. If you get a blip and we had a bill in (our district) for $50,000. Okay and you have to pay that bill. You cannot say we are not going to pay you until we get state aid. So when you know that $40,000 increases the tax rate one percent, it is a big deal…This is big business, but it is still a small big business. Those amounts of money are huge amounts of money to a small district.”

--Superintendent

iii b mobility consequences37
III. B. Mobility Consequences

Issues at the district level

“I have heard teachers say ‘I think this kid is moving. God, I hope they move before the state tests.’ They are very aware of it. The teachers are very aware of who is coming and going.”

--School social worker

iii b mobility consequences38
III. B. Mobility Consequences

Reflecting on the appearance of new students at testing time, a middle school teacher told us it was a feeling of “Well there goes my results because I know what kids of mine are not going to perform well”

She continued, “I do not know if these (new) kids can perform or not. If I am going to have bad results, let it be because I know this kid cannot do this. This kid never caught on. You know what I mean? Holy cow there goes my numbers again. That is the first thing that comes to mind.

I said to the eighth grade teacher ‘I just got four new kids that are going to take my test.’

She said ‘better yours than mine.’”

iii b mobility consequences39
III. B. Mobility Consequences

Issues at the district level

Mobile students in our study appear to have depressed academic outcomes relative to their non mobile peers.

This evidence generally, but not at each grade level, supports the perceptions of the educators interviewed for this study.

iii b mobility consequences40
III. B. Mobility Consequences

Issues at the district level

Mobile students in our study appear to have depressed academic outcomes relative to their non mobile peers.

This evidence generally, but not at each grade level, supports the perceptions of the educators interviewed for this study.

slide45

Conclusion

  • Our case findings relative to existing research
    • Matches strong correlational research affiliating mobility with poor student developmental and academic outcomes.
    • A caution about causality
slide46

Conclusion

  • Policy implications and summary
    • Precipitating causes of student mobility
    • Affiliation with international migration and migrant labor
    • Mobility timing
    • Special education
    • Mobility Consequences
      • New school transitions and interventions
      • Educator understanding about the inclusion of mobile students in AYP
      • Not all mobile students underperform
  • Suggestions for subsequent conceptualizations of mobility