Houston ISD study documents student, parent challenges pre-COVID-19

Based on surveys conducted in 2019, researchers found significant gaps in access to adequate food, health care and school supplies among families in Houston ISD. (Courtesy Pexels)
Based on surveys conducted in 2019, researchers found significant gaps in access to adequate food, health care and school supplies among families in Houston ISD. (Courtesy Pexels)

Based on surveys conducted in 2019, researchers found significant gaps in access to adequate food, health care and school supplies among families in Houston ISD. (Courtesy Pexels)

A new report from Rice University’s Houston Education Research Consortium has documented some of the challenges Houston ISD students faced outside the classroom even before the pandemic.

Based on surveys conducted in 2019, researchers found significant gaps in access to adequate food, health care and school supplies.

More than a quarter of families reported having trouble paying their rent or mortgage, and 1 in 6 reported difficulty covering their utility bills.

A similar proportion of parents reported they struggled with providing clothing and supplies. Food insecurity was also an issue, with 17% of children reporting they were sometimes went hungry because of a lack of food at home.

Nearly 13% of parents reported they could not take their child to the doctor when they are sick. Almost 20% were unable to provide annual dental checkups, and about 40% did not get annual vision checkups for their children. One in 5 students said they missed class regularly for mental health reasons.


The researchers conducted the study to help inform the district’s wraparound program, which strives to help serve students’ social and emotional needs.

A total of 51,769 students, 5,305 parents and 4,698 teachers completed the survey.