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The Wise Man Builds His House Upon the Rock: The Effects of Inadequate School Building Infrastructure on Student Attendance


  • *All data and coding information in this analysis will be shared with those wishing to replicate this study. The author thanks Greg Weiher, Christina Hughes, Colleen Barry-Goodman, Renée Cross, San Juanita Garza, and the anonymous reviewers for their invaluable help on this project.

David Branham, University of Houston Center for Public Policy, 104 Heyne Building, Houston, TX 77204-5021


Objective. This article looks at the effect of school infrastructure on student attendance and drop-out rates.

Methods. Using the school as the unit of analysis, Tobit analysis is performed to analyze 226 Houston Independent School District schools.

Results. The quality of school infrastructure has a significant effect on school attendance and drop-out rates. Students are less likely to attend schools in need of structural repair, schools that use temporary structures, and schools that have understaffed janitorial services.

Conclusions. School districts who wish to maximize attendance and minimize drop-out rates should avoid temporary solutions to school building inadequacies and provide students, teachers, and administrators with quality permanent structure schools, and quality janitorial staffs to maintain those schools.