CQ Researcher Highlights Philadelphia Integrated Data System

The following is an excerpt from the article. You can access the full version here: Homeless Students CQ Researcher

In a first-of-its-kind study, published in 2012, the University of Pennsylvania’s Fantuzzo and colleagues began with all of the third-graders in the Philadelphia school district in 2005- 2006, a very large population compared to earlier studies. 21 The researchers then eliminated from the pool any students not born in the city, because their histories couldn’t be tracked using Philadelphia’s standardized records. Then the researchers followed the progress of homeless students (according to the strict HUD definition) and those who had changed schools an unusual number of times and compared it to that of students who had experienced neither problem. 
The study found that homelessness alone — without an abnormal number of moves from school to school — made it harder for children to engage with teachers and other students. In addition, children who switched schools frequently — without actually ending up on the street or in a shelter — not only had significant trouble learning and engaging with others but also did more poorly in reading and math.
Problems with academic or social engagement “are very, very predictive of later academic problems,” Fantuzzo says. However, it’s the combination of “homelessness plus mobility” that turned out to be the clearest “indicator of tremendous problems” down the line. Children with both experiences did substantially worse on all the measures, he says. 
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