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Research: Students’ Academics Suffer When Bad Weather Cancels Class

Texas education officials haven’t said if they will give a pass to schools hit by Harvey.

The gym at Kempner High School in Sugarland, in Fort Bend Co. southwest of Houston, was converted to a shelter during Hurricane Harvey.

Texas superintendents have been pressing state administrators to relax accountability standards in the aftermath of Harvey, and some research backs up their argument.

Turns out if bad weather keeps a student out of school, their academic performance drops significantly. A study from Harvard University found if a student misses just one day of school, they slip two spots in their math rankings, or percentiles.

Daniel Bowen, assistant professor of educational administration at Texas A&M University, said that means education standards should be softened for schools impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

“That’s as glaring of a case there is in terms of some schools coping with something that other schools are not, but being evaluated on the same scale, which I think is inherently unjust,” Bowen said.

Bowen said that state testing should still go forward — just not the sanctions. They range from a poor grade to closing down schools.

“We can still compare those students who were at comparable levels going into the school year and see kind of an idea of where we would have projected them to be based on how other students were doing in comparable parts of the state to see the extent of the impact,” he explained.

Texas education officials haven’t said if they will give a pass to schools hit by Harvey.

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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