Effects of Student Displacement in Louisiana During the First Academic Year After the Hurricanes of 2005

by John F. Pane, Daniel F. McCaffrey, Nidhi Kalra, Annie Jie Zhou

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The combined impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 left the education system in the Gulf Coast region of the United States with tremendous challenges to rebuild infrastructure, reestablish services, and accommodate the movements of students that occurred as a result of the storms. This article focuses on Louisiana’s public school students, one-fourth of whom were displaced as a result of the storms. It explores the experiences of students and the effects of student movements on student achievement and on the state’s public education system during the first academic year following the hurricanes. Results suggest that, overall, the education system handled the disruptions of the disaster relatively well. However, more detailed examinations show that some displaced students had problems, such as non-enrollment or poor attendance, mental health or behavioral problems, and academic setbacks. Negative achievement effects, which were small overall, were most pronounced among students who remained displaced for the duration of the academic year, and appeared to be mitigated by students’ tendency to enroll in schools with higher student performance than their original schools. However, these analyses do not include the displaced students who did not reenroll in a Louisiana public school. These students constitute more than a quarter of displaced students and tended to be those who are most at risk for poor academic outcomes.

Reprinted with permission from Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR), Vol. 13, Issue 2, pp. 168-211. Copyright © 2008 Taylor and Francis Group.

Originally published in: Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR), Vol. 13, Issue 2, pp. 168–211.

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