Children in foreclosed NYC homes change schools more often

An April 2011 study of New York City foreclosures finds that as a result of the disruption, 20,436 students changed schools –and their numbers were significantly higher than among students in more stable housing situations. In Grades 1-4, for example, the report finds that 13% of children in homes that were in the process of being foreclosed changed schools compared with 10% in nonforeclosed schools. Likewise, in Grades 6 and 7, 12% of students in foreclosed homes changed schools compared with 10% of those in nonforeclosed homes.

Th 20,453 students (up from 12,067 in 2003) represent 2% of the student attending New York City public schools. The hardest hit areas were in north-central Brooklyn and southeastern Queens, and the majority of affected students were African American. They were also younger. The majority of kids living in foreclosing homes were in Grades 1-8, and nearly nine in ten were poor.

The report, “Foreclosure and Kids: Does Losing Your Home Mean Losing Your School? ” was conducted by New York University‚Äôs Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP) and Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy

The authors account for other characteristics (such as race or income) that might also spur higher student mobility, and therefore might be behind the results, but find no evidence that differences in mobility rates are driven by differences in the underlying populations. Their results also reveal that students living in 2-4 unit and larger multi-family buildings were more likely to move after a foreclosure notice than those living in single-family homes. In addition, children living in properties that went to a foreclosure auction experienced particularly high levels of school mobility.

New York City has not been as hard-hit in the foreclosure crisis as some other cities, suggesting that those cities most affected by foreclosures would perhaps see even larger differences in student mobility. Educators working in areas with high foreclosure rates may want to pay particular attention to the needs of new, and existing students, who are likely under added strain as a result of their family’s turmoil.

The report is a second in a two-part series on the effects of the foreclosure crisis on children. A fuller list of reports is on their website.

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