Itinerant Kids in Class
In low income areas across the country, economic pressures can force parents to house hop and their children to school hop, and Flint, Mich. is no exception. The city loses 1,000 students annually, and half of all students switch schools, according to the The New York Times. In 2004, the State Department of Human Services began an experiment to combat the problem: They would offer a $100-a-month rent subsidy (paid directly to landlords who promise not to raise their rent) for parents at the two most afflicted elementary schools. The Genesee Scholars Program also intended to keep students with the same teacher for 2nd and 3rd grade.
Dr. David Kerbow, a University of Chicago education researcher, has studied the effect of itinerancy on students and their more settled classmates, a problem, he says, education planners don’t always address. “The learning trajectory over time is flattened [for all students],” Kerbow adds, because teachers are often having to play instructional catch up.
Flint’s program has yielded positive results. Participants are moving less and recent data reveals that 3rd graders’ scores jumped on a statewide test.