By Laura Meckler
High concentrations of poverty, not racial segregation, entirely account for the racial achievement gap in U.S. schools, a new study finds.
The research, released Monday, looked at the achievement gap between white students, who tend to have higher scores, and black and Hispanic students, who tend to have lower scores. Researchers with Stanford University wanted to know whether those gaps are driven by widespread segregation in schools or something else.
They found that the gaps were “completely accounted for” by poverty, with students in high-poverty schools performing worse than those from schools with children from wealthier families.
“Racial segregation appears to be harmful because it concentrates minority students in high-poverty schools, which are, on average, less effective than lower-poverty schools,” concluded the paper by academics, led by Sean F. Reardon, professor of poverty and inequality in education and senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.