A reader shared a link to an important study of the damaging effects of student mobility. The more students changed schools, the more negative effects on them.

Too bad Margaret Spellings and Arne Duncan didn’t know about this research when they decided that the best way to help low-scoring students was to close their schools. Too bad Rahm Emanuel didn’t know about it when he closed 50 public schools in a single day.

School mobility has been shown to increase the risk of poor achievement, behavior problems, grade retention, and high school drop-out. Using data over 25 years from the Chicago Longitudinal Study, we investigated the unique risk of school moves on a variety of young adult outcomes including educational attainment, occupational prestige, depression symptoms, and criminal arrests. We also investigated how the timing of school mobility, whether earlier or later in the academic career, may differentially predict these outcomes over and above associated risks. Results indicate that students who experience more school changes between kindergarten and twelfth grade are less likely to complete high school on time, complete fewer years of school, attain lower levels of occupational prestige, are more likely to experience symptoms of depression, and are more likely to be arrested as adults. Furthermore, the number of school moves predicted above and beyond associated risks such as residential mobility and family poverty. When timing of school mobility was examined, results indicated more negative outcomes associated with moves later in the grade school career, particularly between fourth and eighth grade.

Doesn’t this seem like common sense? Your child is in a school where he or she makes friends and has a good relationship with teachers. You take the child out, and he or she has some trouble readjusting. Maybe the family moved, and it was necessary. But why would the government inflict it on children, call it “reform,” and celebrate the harm to the children?