Student Mobility Leaving Districts in the Houston Area: Where do students go? And do they return?

Rodnae, Pexels

This study highlights the unique patterns of student mobility and the returner phenomenon in 10 Houston-area school districts.

When students change schools, they often leave for a campus in another district, a non-Texas public school (e.g., a private school), or a non-district charter school. However, these departures are not always final; student mobility regularly brings students back to their original district. To explore this phenomenon, this study followed cohorts of fifth-grade students from 10 Houston-area school districts to answer the following research questions:

  • What proportion of students left their school district between the fifth and 12th grade?
  • Where did leavers go?
  • How many returned?
  • When did students leave and return?

The answers to these questions varied across districts. To highlight the unique patterns of student mobility and the returner phenomenon in the districts, each district is presented and discussed separately. Findings show that patterns of return varied based on whether students left their district but stayed in the Texas public school system (TPSS), left TPSS, or left for a non-district charter.

Photo: Rodnae/Pexels

Student walking in school hallway
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In this series of research briefs, HERC examines the between district mobility of students from the perspective of 10 public school districts in the Houston area.

Exit Only or Revolving Doors: Student mobility to and from non-Texas public schools and non-district charters
Jun. 1, 2021

To investigate this phenomenon of “returners,” Houston Education Research Consortium researchers followed two types of leavers in a cohort of Houston-area students to see if and when they return.

Student Mobility Report
Student Mobility in Texas and the Houston Area
Jan. 4, 2022

This report is the culmination of a multi-year study on student mobility undertaken by the Kinder Institute for Urban Research's Houston Education Research Consortium in collaboration with 10 public school districts in the Houston area.

Student Mobility

HERC embarked on a multiyear study of student mobility in Texas and across the Houston area to better understand which students change schools and the consequences those changes have on educational outcomes.

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