Wow. Tell every teacher you know to read this:
Professor of Economics Ann Huff Stevens (at left) and graduate student Jessamyn Schaller (below right), both of UC Davis, have just published a paper ($5 on-line) entitled "Short-run effects of parental job loss on children's academic achievement."
From the abstract: [emphases ours]:
"We study the relationship between parental job loss and children’s academic achievement using data on job loss and grade retention from the 1996, 2001, and 2004 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation. We find that a parental job loss increases the probability of children’s grade retention by 0.8 percentage points, or around 15 percent. After conditioning on child fixed effects, there is no evidence of significantly increased grade retention prior to the job loss, suggesting a causal link between the parental employment shock and children’s academic difficulties. These effects are concentrated among children whose parents have a high school education or less."
We were tipped off to this report via today's Wall Street Journal blog, "Real-Time Economics." Pos ter Kelly Evans comments, "[Stevens' and Schaller's] study may also explain why areas of the country prone to cyclical layoffs, such as those with a large factory base, have trouble improving their school systems...The effect [grade retention] is twice as likely in boys."
Evans also notes that the Labor Department esimates 15.7 million Americans are unemployed. We'd like to guess, extrapolating empirical observations, that another 15.7 million Americans are afraid they are about to become unemployed.
Since the national recession began in December 2007, California has lost 954,700 industry jobs. (Thanks to Tim Fitzharris in the CDPI Bulletin for 11/11).
For the human interest angle, read the November 11 story by Michael Luo in the New York Times.