Amy Ellen Schwartz
Thanks to Amy Ellen Schwartz from NYU Wagner for leading this week’s brown bag discussion about the causes and consequences of student mobility.
First, Schwartz highlighted the many different types of mobility. Two common types of mobility are structural mobility, when a student switches schools over the summer after completing the final grade level offered by a school, and non-structural, which is also a switch during the summer, but that occurs before the student completes all the levels at a school. There are also other types of moves, including ones that occur in the middle of the school year.
Schwartz’ work analyzes data from a number of data sources, including the NYC Department of Education (NYCDOE) which catalogues detailed student demographic data, and the NYC Housing Authority which has information on which students live in public housing. Schwartz finds that less than ⅔ of students who start school (1st grade) in the NYC school district are still enrolled in an NYC school in 8th grade. By 12th grade, less than ⅓ of the same cohort are still enrolled. Schwartz’ findings raise some interesting policy questions. For example, since most students do not stay enrolled in the NYC school district, does it make sense for the city’s taxpayers to fund early-childhood programs?
Schwartz’ findings indicate that moving does matter for student achievement. Interestingly, Schwartz’ research finds that structural moves have negative effects, which raises questions about how a school district should structure the number of grade levels each of its schools offer. Her findings also show that non-structural moves can be positive or negative, depending on why the child is moving.
To learn more about Schwartz’ work, visit her faculty page at NYU Wagner.
Addendum: Please find Schwartz' slides from the brown bag here.