The Unique and Combined Effects of Homelessness and School Mobility on the Educational Outcomes of Young Children

This study examined the unique and combined associations of homelessness and school mobility with educational well-being indicators, as well as the mediating effect of absenteeism, for an entire cohort of third-grade students in Philadelphia. Using integrated archival administrative data from the public school district and the municipal Office of Supportive Housing, multilevel linear models were estimated to test these associations while adjusting for nesting of students within schools. Findings demonstrated that homelessness had a unique association with problems in classroom engagement, school mobility was uniquely related to both academic achievement and problems in classroom engagement, and experiencing both homelessness and school mobility was the most detrimental for both forms of educational well-being. Absenteeism was found to partially mediate the relations between homelessness, school mobility, and problems in task engagement. Results provide support for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and the need for educational policies for mobile children.

This research was supported in part by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the William Penn Foundation. Data were provided through the Kids Integrated Data System, a partnership between the City of Philadelphia and the School District of Philadelphia. The findings and discussion presented in this manuscript, however, represent the views of the authors and do not reflect those of the City or the School District of Philadelphia.

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Suggested Citation:
John W. Fantuzzo, Whitney A. LeBoeuf, Chin-Chih Chen, Heather Rouse, and Dennis P. Culhane. “The Unique and Combined Effects of Homelessness and School Mobility on the Educational Outcomes of Young Children” Educational Researcher. 20.20 (2012): 1-10.

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