Monday, December 20, 2010
The Effect of Mobility Upon A Child's Education
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We like to move around. As a country we are a highly mobile bunch. How many of us have siblings, or kids or other relatives in another state? (The Christmas visit is near, no?) One advertising slogan encourages us to "move around the country." How many movies center upon the theme of a road trip?
Indeed, in America travel has legal implications. The right to travel, or more accurately to move from state to state, is a fundamental right with constitutionally protected status. Just ask the supremes. Shapiro v. Thompson 394 U.S. 618 (1969). You can re ad the decision here.
So it was with some interest that I read the recent report by the Government Accountability Office concerning mobility and education. They found that 13% of children in grades K - 8 are highly mobile (defined as having moved 4 times or more!). They are disproportionately poor and African American.
11.5% of schools were highly mobile (ie, more than 10% of K - 8 students left school before the end of the year). Highly mobile schools had larger percentages of poor kids, special ed kids, and limited English proficiency kids. Concerning the challenges for the special education kids, the report note the difficulties caused by trying to get records from one school to the next. (Note that the issue of transfer students was one of the areas addressed by the 2004 amendments to IDEA.)
This is an interesting report. I encourage you to read it, especially if you are a mobile parent or student or if you work with mobile students. Here is a summary. Here is the entire report.