Student Mobility: Exploring the Impacts of Frequent Moves on Achievement - Workshop Summary


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Many low-income families struggle with stable housing and frequently have to move due to foreclosures, rent increases, or other financial setbacks. In 2007, 43 percent of low-income families with children had at least one significant problem with finding or keeping housing, and this number likely increased following 2008-2009 housing crisis and recession. Children in these families can experience lasting negative effects from their frequent moves, especially those who are young and still developing basic learning and social skills. However, it can be difficult to gather information on such a mobile population. There is little data on how many children are affected by frequent moves between homes and schools; how these moves affect them and what problems moving may cause; and how policymakers and educators can help these children learn and grow.

A joint National Research Council/IOM committee held a workshop in June 2009 to examine these issues, highlight patterns in current research, and discuss how to develop a support system for at-risk children. Workshop participants discussed how to adapt child care, early childhood and elementary education, and community services to address the educational and developmental challenges of children without stable environments. Participants focused on issues facing children ages 3 to 8 years in particular, as the first few years of school can set the stage for later development. This document summarizes the workshop.