The information on this page is organized into the following broad categories:
- Impact of Economic Crisis on Schools
- Unemployment and School Outcomes
- The Housing Crisis and School Outcomes
- The Economic Crisis, Health, and School Outcomes
- Coping with the Economic Crisis: Emerging Strategies
- California Children Compared
Note: Our aim is to provide a diversity of research and analysis on this topic. EdSource does not necessarily endorse the research and methodology of any report. Links to websites outside the EdSource domain are indicated with this icon
Impact of Economic Crisis on Schools
The state’s fiscal crisis in the context of the rippling effects of the Great Recession has taken a massive toll on schools in California and the nation.
- Schools Under Stress: Pressures Mount on California’s Largest School Districts ~ EdSource (May 2012) ~ California’s 30 largest school districts—which educate nearly 2 million students—are facing multiple stresses tied to the economic crisis at a state and national level, threatening their ability to provide a quality education to California’s children.
- Year-Three Survey: Update on School District Finance in California ~ California Legislative Analyst’s Office (May 2012) ~ This report summarizes findings from the LAO’s third annual finance survey of California public school districts. It finds that districts have experienced notable changes as a result of recent budget reductions, including a smaller workforce, larger class sizes, shorter school years, and less extensive programmatic offerings.
- Free Fall: Educational Opportunities in 2011 ~ UCLA IDEA (March 2011) ~ This report looks at how cuts have affected the quality and distribution of education opportunities at a time when high unemployment and decreased public education spending have moved California into uncharted territory. EdSource Symposium speaker John Rogers was the primary author of this report.
- Educational Opportunities in Hard Times: The Impact of the Economic Crisis on Public Schools and Working Families ~ UCLA IDEA (January 2010) ~ This report, based on a survey of principals from around the state, describes how the economic crisis has affected California’s schools. EdSource Symposium speaker John Rogers was the primary author of this report.
- At Central Valley School, Counselors Forced to Do More With Less ~ New America Media (April 2012) ~ This article looks at how counselors at Arvin High School in Kern County are working to serve their students despite budget and staff cuts. Reporter Stephanie Espinoza is one of the speakers at the EdSource Symposium.
- Lines Grow Long for Free School Meals, Thanks to Economy ~ The New York Times (November 2011) ~ This analysis finds a 17% increase in the number of students receiving subsidized lunches between 2006-07 and 2010-11.
- The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Teachers, Parents and the Economy ~ MetLife (March 2012) ~ This survey includes information on the views of teachers, parents and students about the effects of the current economy on families and schools.
- California Has Made Deep Cuts to Public School Funding Since 2007-08 ~ California Budget Project (April 2012) ~ This fact sheet examines the local impact of recent cuts to general purpose school funding.
Unemployment and School Outcomes
Emerging research shows how parental unemployment can depress students’ academic outcomes.
- U.S. poverty on track to reach 46-year high: Suburbs, underemployed workers, children hit hard ~ Associated Press (August 2012) ~ The ranks of America’s poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net.
Children Left Behind: The Effects of Statewide Job Loss on Student Achievement ~ E.O. Ananat, et al. (2011) ~ This study examines the effects of state-level job losses on fourth- and eighth-grade test scores, using federal Mass Layoff Statistics and 1996-2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress data. Results indicate that job losses decrease scores.
- The Recession’s Ongoing Impact on America’s Children: Indicators of Children’s Economic Well-Being Through 2011~ The Brookings Institution (December 2011) ~ This brief provides updated statistics on the numbers of children with an unemployed parent, nutritional assistance benefits, and child poverty.
- Starting School at a Disadvantage: The School Readiness of Poor Children ~ The Brookings Institution (March 2012) ~ This paper examines the reasons why poor children are not as prepared ready for school and evaluates three interventions for improving their school readiness.
- Short-run Effects of Parental Job Loss on Children’s Academic Achievement ~ National Bureau of Economic Research (November 2009) ~ This study found that parental job loss increases the probability of being held back in school by around 15 percent.
- The Human Disaster of Unemployment ~ New York Times (May 2012) ~ This article lays out the far-reaching impact of long term unemployment, including higher divorce rates. It also says that children whose fathers lose their jobs earn about 9 percent less than children whose fathers did not lose their jobs once they enter the labor force.
The Housing Crisis and School Outcomes
A number of research studies show a connection between the housing crisis — including the threat of foreclosures and eviction, actual foreclosures, and homelessness — and school performance.
- Is the foreclosure crisis making people sick? ~ GlobalHealthHub.org (Sept. 2012) ~ The housing crisis that precipitated our ongoing recession began with the foreclosure of 15% of US mortgages. There remains substantial disagreement, however, about whether and how public health departments should specifically address health problems experienced by the people who lost their homes in this crisis.
- The Ongoing Impact of Foreclosures on Children ~ First Focus and The Brookings Institution (April 2012) ~ This new analysis examines the number of children by state that are affected by foreclosures.
- Do Children Lose More than a Home? The Effects of Foreclosure on Children’s Education Outcomes ~ David Figlio, Ashlyn Aiko Nelson, Stephen L. Ross (2010) ~ This working paper describes research on the effect of foreclosure on education outcomes and outlines a study currently under way that will link foreclosure data with student academic performance data in California and Florida. Researcher Ashlyn Aiko Nelson, is a speaker at the EdSource symposium.
- The Impact of the Mortgage Crisis on Children and Their Education ~ First Focus (April 2008) ~ This 2008 report looks at the impact of the mortgage crisis on children and their academic success.
- Elementary Education Outcomes and Stress at Home: Evidence from Mortgage Default in San Diego ~ Samuel Dastrup and Julian R. Betts, UC San Diego (January 2012) ~ This study conducted by UC San Diego finds the financial stress of foreclosure decreases elementary student math scores while increasing absenteeism.
- Student Mobility: Exploring the Impact of Frequent Moves on Achievement: Summary of a Workshop ~ Alexandra Beatty, Rapporteur; Committee on the Impact of Mobility and Change on the Lives of Young Children, Schools, and Neighborhoods; National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (2010) ~ An exploration of the lasting negative effects of frequent moves due to foreclosure, rent increases or other financial setbacks. This book can be read free online. EdSource symposium speaker Russell W. Rumberger is a member of the committee on whose work this report is based.
- Hard Times Generation: Families living in cars ~ 60 Minutes (November 2011) ~ This video shows the experience of families living in cars in Florida from the perspective of the children.
- Student Mobility and Academic Achievement ~ ERIC/EECE Digest Archive (June 2002) ~ Although not directly studying mobility due to economic problems, this digest examines the research on the academic consequences of mobility for elementary school students and discusses what schools and parents can do to mitigate the possible negative effects of changing schools.
- 2009 Workshop on the Impact of Mobility and Change on the Lives of Young Children, Schools, and Neighborhoods ~ The National Academies Board on Children Youth and Families (2009) ~ This web page provides links to a variety of presentations on the subject of how mobility affects students, schools, and neighborhoods.
The Economic Crisis, Health, and School Outcomes
The economic crisis has resulted in rising numbers of children without health insurance, suffering from “food insecurity,” and more reliant on free and reduced priced meals in their schools. Children from economically distressed households also suffer from greater stress, which also can affect their academic performance, and require financially strapped schools to provide more support services.
- Research traces impact of childhood adversity ~ The stress of a spelling bee or a challenging science project can enhance a student’s focus and promote learning. But the stress of a dysfunctional or unstable home life can poison a child’s cognitive ability for a lifetime, according to new research.
- L.A. Unified receives grant to help students exposed to trauma ~ The Los Angeles Unified School District’s mental health department, along with a group of partners, recently landed a $2. 4-million grant to work with students exposed to traumatic events.
- Persistent Fear and Anxiety Can Affect Young Children’s Learning and Development ~ National Scientific Council on the Developing Child (2010) ~ This report summarizes how early exposure to circumstances that produce persistent fear and chronic anxiety have the potential to affect how children learn, solve problems, and relate to others.
- Research Links Poor Children’s Stress and Brain Impairment ~ Washington Post (April 2009) ~This article describes research that links the chronic stress of growing up poor to reduced scores on memory tests.
- Child Food Insecurity:The Economic Impact on our Nation ~ Feeding America and The ConAgra Foods Foundation (2009) ~ This report looks at the impact on child hunger on health, education, and workforce readiness.
- Is the Foreclosure Crisis Making Us Sick? ~ The National Bureau of Economic Research (August 2011) ~ This report finds that an increase in foreclosures is associated with an increase in medical visits for mental health, preventable conditions, and stress-related physical complaints.
Coping with the Economic Crisis: Emerging Strategies
Fully addressing the impact of the economic crisis on children will require a healthy state and national economy, with full employment, the end of widespread housing foreclosures and instability, and a range of intensive support services for children and families. With such an economy a distant vision, a growing number of schools and communities are implementing strategies to mitigate the impact of the crisis on children — strategies that could become models for serving children in economically distressed households even when the state’s economy emerges from its current sickly state.
- Two Generations, One Future: Moving Parents and Children Beyond Poverty Together ~ Ascend at the Aspen Institute (2012) ~ This report describes Ascend’s “two-generation” approach to addressing the effect of socioeconomic problems on academic achievement.
- Lightening the Load: A Look at Four Ways that Community Schools Can Support Effective Teaching ~ Center for American Progress (January 2012) ~ This report examines specific examples of schools where wraparound services such as health care services, family involvement programs, and expanded food assistance are benefiting teachers in addition to students.
- Creating Promise Neighborhoods~ PolicyLink ~ Inspired by the successful model of the Harlem Children’s Zone, the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink supports Promise Neighborhoods—communities of opportunity centered around strong schools—to wrap children in education, health, and social supports from the cradle to college to career.
- Mission District Awarded Promise Neighborhoods Planning Grant
The Mission District has been awarded the Promise Neighborhood planning grant to improve opportunities for children and families. The Obama Administration announced that the U.S. Department of Education has selected the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) as one of the recipients of the 2011 Promise Neighborhoods planning grant.
- HAYWARD PROMISE NEIGHBORHOOD
The Promise Neighborhoods’ vision is that “all children growing up in Promise Neighborhoods have access to effective schools and strong systems of family and community support that will prepare them to attain an excellent education and successfully transition to college and career.”
- Mission District Awarded Promise Neighborhoods Planning Grant
- Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids’ Brains and What Schools Can Do About It ~ ASCD (2009) ~ This book focuses on the relationship between academic achievement and low socioeconomic status.
California Children Compared
How are California children doing compared with those in other states? Check out these national reports.
- KIDS COUNT Data Book ~ The Annie E. Casey Foundation (2012) ~ This annual report profiles the status of children on a national and state-by-state basis and ranks states on 10 measures of child well-being.
Food Security in the United States: Key Statistics and Graphics ~ USDA Economic Research Service (2011) ~ This page from the United States Department of Agriculture provides data and graphs that describe the extent of hunger in America. According to these data, levels of food insecurity in California are above the national average. Overall, the percent of households nationwide experiencing food insecurity increased sharply in 2008.