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MacArthur Foundation Award: Dennis Culhane and John Fantuzzo

March 13, 2012, Volume 58, No. 25

Dennis CulhaneDr. Dennis Culhane, The Dana and Andrew Stone Professor of Social Policy in the School of Social Policy & Practice and Dr. John Fantuzzo, The Albert M. Greenfield Professor of Human Relations in the Graduate School of Education have received $1.275 million from the MacArthur Foundation to conduct a multi-site study of the educational well-being of children in assisted housing programs. The study will take place over the course of two years.

Based on a 2008 national survey done by Dr. Culhane and Dr. Fantuzzo to locate existing integrated data system sites (Almanac September 15, 2009), five locations—Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania; the State of South Carolina; the State of Michigan; and the State of Washington—were identified as having both housing and educational data as part of their integrated database systems. All of these sites have established and tested high-quality longitudinal data systems that integrate data across educational and human services data systems. All sites will be funded through this MacArthur grant with the exception of the State of Washington. The State of Washington will be funded through a $275,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. (Note that all 5 sites are members of the MacArthur-funded Intelligence for Social Policy (ISP) Network that was established after the 2008 national survey was completed.)

This study will link individual-level student records and assisted housing records in the five sites to ascertain how children in households participating in different assisted housing programs fare in terms of academic achievement, educational attainment, and behavioral adjustment, as compared to a matched group of children who do not reside in assisted housing. The results will speak to the effects of assisted housing on children's educational outcomes.

This research study will create or reinforce interagency dialogue surrounding the current state of assisted John Fantuzzohousing and education with relevant agency representatives. The goal is to have the policy-relevant research inquiry of this study foster sustainable interagency communication and policy change.

The final aim is to have this multi-site study become a model for how other municipalities and states can use integrated data systems to answer critical questions in the areas of assisted housing and educational well-being. The study is designed to be replicated in every state and municipality by using publicly monitored data accessible to local and state government. Each step of this research process will be intentionally documented such that replication of multi-site studies using integrated housing and education data could be replicated and scaled nationally should assisted housing data become available.

HUD has agreed to provide assisted housing data for these five sites for use in this research study.

This work represents meaningful collaborations between systems at multiple levels that foster the flow of information between researchers, policymakers, and community supporters in the areas of housing and education.


Almanac - March 13, 2012, Volume 58, No. 25