What's a Black School Worth in Oakland? Grass Valley Elementary Community Braces for 2nd Closure in a Decade

May 02, 2022

In a recent study, Stanford education professor Francis Pearman found that school closures increased gentrification in Black neighborhoods

“In an age where school districts are writing statements and promising policy in ‘defense of Black lives,’ stakeholders must consider how educational policies are contributing to the further perpetuation of the disintegration of Black communities,” Pearman writes. 

In his research, Pearman has identified a cyclical relationship between school closures and neighborhood change. Closing schools increases the likelihood that Black neighborhoods will gentrify. In turn, gentrification leads to lower enrollment as families are displaced and new residents opt out of the neighborhood school or don’t have kids to enroll. 

“If these school closures are promoting the further dispossession of communities of color, making them even less likely to retain their historic profile of being Black communities, then there’s broader conversations that need to be had about what these closures mean for the lifeblood of Black neighborhoods,” Pearman says.