- September 25, 2019, Forbes
Earlier this week, Stanford University sociologist Sean Reardon and some colleagues released a report using massive amounts of test-score data to investigate the effects of modern-day racial segregation. After Southern schools were desegregated in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, test-score gaps between black and white students decreased. But with the decline of court-ordered integration, racial segregation in schools returned and has remained at high levels since the 1980s. The question the study set out to investigate is: does racial segregation still matter?
The answer, Reardon and his colleagues say, is yes. School systems that are more segregated have larger achievement gaps, and “their gaps grow faster during elementary and middle schools than in less segregated ones.” But it’s not because of race per se. The real problem, the researchers conclude, is poverty.
- September 24, 2019
- September 23, 2019
Here’s a tale of three cities: Atlanta, New York and Detroit.
In all three cities, there is a high degree of racial segregation in the schools. White students go to schools with relatively few black and Hispanic students. Black and Hispanic students attend schools that don’t have many white students. When Sean Reardon, a sociologist at Stanford University, measures the racial isolation in a quantitative way, he finds that the schools in the three cities are “equally racially segregated.”
But the poverty rates in the schools are very different. In Atlanta, blacks students go to schools with very high poverty rates. The students in these schools tend to come from families whose income is low enough that the children qualify for free or reduced priced lunches, a federal measure of poverty. The white students in Atlanta tend to go to schools with very low poverty rates. In New York City, Reardon finds the same pattern but not to the same extreme. Meanwhile, in Detroit, this pattern isn’t true at all. White and black students attend different schools, but the poverty levels are high in both white and black schools.
- September 23, 2019
“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.
The study examined scores from hundreds of millions of tests over the last decade by students in thousands of school districts. Researchers found a “very strong link” between racial school segregation and academic achievement gaps. Every school district with “even moderately high” segregation had a large achievement gap, they found.
- School poverty – not racial composition – limits educational opportunity, according to new research at StanfordSeptember 23, 2019
Fifty years ago, communities across America began efforts to make school districts more racially integrated, believing it would ease racial disparities in students’ educational opportunities. But new evidence shows that while racial segregation within a district is a very strong predictor of achievement gaps, school poverty – not the racial composition of schools – accounts for this effect.
In other words, racial segregation remains a major source of educational inequality, but this is because racial segregation almost always concentrates black and Hispanic students in high-poverty schools, according to new research led by Sean Reardon, a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE).
“The only school districts in the U.S. where racial achievement gaps are even moderately small are those where there is little or no segregation. Every moderately or highly segregated district has large racial achievement gaps,” said Reardon, the Professor of Poverty and Inequality at Stanford GSE. “But it’s not the racial composition of the schools that matters. What matters is when black or Hispanic students are concentrated in high-poverty schools in a district.”
- September 17, 2019
The study’s author, Francis Pearman of Stanford University, attributes the positive effects on children in lower-income communities to the fact that those in the control group had fewer options for child care or preschool and were “overexposed” to risk factors that could include being exposed to violence, a lack of stable housing, unemployment and “weakened family units.”
- The Great Recession set millennials back. A decade later, they haven’t recovered. Here’s what’s going onSeptember 12, 2019
Stanford education professor Eric Bettinger has shown that one easy way to boost college attendance or planning for postsecondary education is to simplify the complex processes surrounding financial aid and college savings funds. In particular, he has found that:
- High school seniors whose families received help completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and information about tuition costs for local universities were more likely to complete two years of college. (Data was collected three years after the assistance was provided.)
- Parents who received information about tax-advantaged 529 college savings plans and the required opening deposit of $50 were 22 percent more likely to open an account and 7 percent more likely to enroll in automatic monthly contributions.
- September 06, 2019
MIP network member Benjamin Domingue is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. He is interested in how student outcomes are leveraged to inform our understanding of student learning, teacher performance, and the efficacy of other programs. He has a particular interest in the technical issues that make it challenging to draw simple inferences from such student outcomes. Another strand of research focuses on the integration of genetic data into social science research. He is particularly interested in understanding the genetic architecture of educational attainment and the way in which schools can and do moderate the association between genes and educational attainment. Domingue received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
- September 06, 2019, EdSource
Stanford education professor Michael Kirst was a leading architect of California’s new accountability system based on multiple measures and the California School Dashboard that represents visually how schools are doing on numerous indicators. Kirst, a close advisor on education to Gov. Jerry Brown for several decades, was president of the State Board of Education when Brown became governor in 2010, and occupied a similar position during Brown’s first term as governor in the 1970s. Kirst has argued strongly against trying to rate a school or school district on a single measure. John Fensterwald and Louis Freedberg talked with Kirst to get his views on why he is opposed to a single rating.
- September 04, 2019
A Stanford University study has concluded that a controversial tenth-grade MCAS essay question that many students and teachers derided as racist hurt the performance of a small number of black students, state officials announced Friday, prompting them to take the unusual step of waiving the passing score for a limited number of students
- August 28, 2019
Stanford’s Eric Bettinger and his research team found that students who won a lottery for a voucher in Colombia were 17% more likely to complete high school on time than students who lost the lottery. The study, released in July, used a method of random assignment to compare apples to apples. So it isn’t because of selection bias that lottery winners earned 8% more than lottery losers by the time they turned 33. It’s because their parents were allowed to choose schools that were better fits for their children.
- August 26, 2019
The 1993 movie "Groundhog Day" has become an enduring classic partly because of an engaging plot line in which the protagonist has repeated opportunities to make better decisions. In early-childhood education, state and local stakeholders currently have a compelling "Groundhog Day" opportunity of their own. Versions of the controversial accountability reforms that have become commonplace in K-12 schools over the last 30 years have recently and quietly spread throughout the early-childhood sector. These recent reforms present a fresh new chance to get it right and to avoid the missteps that have ...
- August 02, 2019
“We can’t depend upon pre-K to cure a K-12 system that’s not working for poor families,” she said on Thursday. “We can’t put the blame on children who are placed in low performing schools and then just say that they weren’t ready. If we really care about children from low-income families and the schools that serve them, we’ve got to take a bigger view.”
- July 17, 2019
"Racial intolerance (and outright racism) seems on the rise, and white-black income and wealth disparities remain very large and have not narrowed in decades. So there is little reason to expect much decline in racial segregation in the near future, particularly given the lack of policy interest in addressing it. Economic segregation likewise shows no sign of declining. So I am currently pessimistic, given today’s political and economic winds, but am more hopeful about the long arc of the future, which I think will ultimately bend toward equality and fairness." Sean Reardon
- July 08, 2019
When local police partnered with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enforce immigration laws, the number of Hispanic students plummeted, a study finds.
More than 300,000 Hispanic students have been displaced from K-12 schools in communities where local police have forged partnerships with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to better enforce immigration laws, according to a new study from researchers at Stanford University.
- July 05, 2019, EdSource
Stanford’s Reardon points out that one reason that the racial and ethnic gaps in Berkeley are so high is that white students on average are doing exceptionally well, not that black and Latino students are doing exceptionally poorly, at least compared to their peers in other school districts.
In that sense, Berkeley is not that dissimilar to other communities which are also home to world-class universities, like Palo Alto, Chapel Hill and Evanston, IL, where achievement gaps are also very large.
“Some of it is that white families in those places tend to have higher incomes and education levels than black and Hispanic families, who have fewer socioeconomic resources to use to provide educational opportunities for their children such as high-quality preschool,” Reardon said.