COVID-19, Housing Instability, and Student Achievement Closely Linked

COVID-19 related housing instability will have profound impacts on students’ well-being and academic performance, according to a new in-depth feature article reported by HuffPost and The Hechinger Report. Long before the pandemic, eviction numbers across the country were staggering, leaving school district officials struggling to serve children frequently on the move. The coronavirus and its associated economic shocks will exacerbate this long-standing problem, further disrupting students whose lives and learning progress have already been upended by school closures. 

The article highlights numerous research studies that can help housing advocates make the case to elected officials that housing policy is education policy and make the case to education advocates why they should weigh in on housing policy. Among the research findings, for example, fifth graders who remained in their schools for three consecutive years were twice as likely to score at proficient or advanced levels on state academic achievement tests than children who switched schools. Eleventh graders who had attended the same high school for three consecutive years had higher GPAs and ACT scores than those who switched schools. The article also features interviews with school superintendents and school districts officials who explain why they are deeply concerned about the impacts of housing instability.  

“Housing is everything,” said Melissa Douglas, the liaison for homeless students in the Kansas City Public Schools district. “Moving from place to place is an unwarranted stress on adults and students. We know that the more moves [kids’] families make, the more gaps in their education that they may have.” 

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