RESEARCH SUPPORTS school stability:
- Research shows that children who change schools frequently:
- Make less academic progress than their peers, losing about 4 - 6 months of educational progress every time they change schools
- Fall farther behind with each school change, leading to low test scores, negative academic outcomes, and high drop-out rates
- May have a tougher time developing supportive relationships with teachers and peers
- Children in foster care may change schools frequently — when they first enter foster care , when they move from one foster care living arrangement to another, or when they return home.
- The educational outcomes of foster youth trail behind national averages in standardized test scores, a disparity researchers attribute to frequent school changes.
PROMISING NEWS to encourage stability efforts:
- When youth in foster care stay in the same middle and high school setting, their likelihood of graduating high school doubles when compared to youth whose educational placements change.
- On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The law is effective on December 10, 2016.
- ESSA is the first major overhaul of federal education law in over a decade.
- It contains (for the first time) key protections for students in foster care to promote school stability and success and required collaboration with child welfare partners.
- Every Student Succeeds Act
- Foster Care & Education Q&A —a fact sheet about the new education law from the Legal Center for Foster Care & Education
- Frequently-Asked Questions about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) & Students in Foster Care, from the Vermont Agency of Education
- No Decision About Me, Without Me — a Vermont video about the impact of having to change schools
- VT-FUTRES website to get resources aimed at improving educational success for youth in foster care