Student turnover slows academic growth, but many states aren’t tracking the churn

Erin Richards:

Meticulous reports flow in on enrollment, attendance, test scores, dropout rates and college-entrance exam results. You can track students by race and income at every school and pull up each teacher’s salary and experience.

But no one is widely tracking a key group of students whose actions, experts say, may be thwarting efforts to improve education: Kids who move around a lot.

Academics call it student mobility. Most people know it as turnover, churn or transience. One Milwaukee principal calls them kangaroo kids: Where will they bounce to next?

All refer to students switching schools for reasons other than moving naturally to the next grade in a new building. Most are poor, and their disruptive movements can harm their own academic progress as well as the growth of their peers who stay put in high-churn schools.