Nonprofit Wants to Test Theory: Do Students Perform Better When Parents Work Nearby?

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October 20, 2011; Source: Hartford Business Journal | Redefin, The Coalition to Redefine Homeownership in Litchfield County Connecticut is testing a new theory not much in discussion among those committed to improving children’s educational accomplishments. The hypothesis? If parents work close to where they own a home, children do better in school.

The concept being tested relates to research done by Habitat for Humanity, which found a correlation between home ownership and rising reading and math scores, as well as rising high school and college graduation rates.

Nicole Walsh, a teacher who originated the concept, says, “Long commutes to work negatively impact worker morale and productivity. And by helping employees find an affordable home close to the workplace, business owners may see decreased absenteeism, tardiness and stress, while boosting employee dependability and retention.”

Of course the program is still in development, but this is the kind of question that often gets ignored in outcomes research unless you specifically test for it.-Ruth McCambridge

  • Deborah Walsh

    More than forty years of research shows children succeed when parents are involved. Family engagement influences graduation rates, grades, absences, college readiness, etc. If a home is closer to a workplace, my guess is the local school is also closer to the workplace, making it easier for parents to take some time to visit, volunteer, speak to a teacher, attend an event, etc. –all forms of engagement. Long commutes hamper that type of engagement. It could be that working near home increases involvement which increases student success.