“Chicago moves from being relatively low-performing even among similar school districts to having test scores that are much closer to the national average,” he told the audience of education experts from the University of Chicago, the Council of Great City Schools, the University of Illinois at Chicago and several foundations. “So that’s remarkably fast, that’s like an extra year of schooling squeezed in somehow between third and 8th grade.”
Evidence shows that Haikala has reason to be concerned. A 2011 Stanford University study showed that a wave of resegregation has flowed across the South as courts have released school districts from their desegregation orders. An example of just this sort of resegregation existed not even 70 miles down Interstate 20, in Tuscaloosa. After years of resistance, the Legal Defense Fund and the Justice Department managed to integrate most of the city’s schools by the late 1980s — every black and white student in Grades 6-12 attended the same middle and high school.
The distribution of private elementary school enrolments in the US has changed over the last half century. This column shows that, overall, fewer middle-class children are now enrolled in private schools. Non-Catholic religious schools play an increasing role in private school enrolments, and today serve more students whose family incomes are in the bottom half of the distribution than Catholic schools do. The increase in residential segregation by income in the US means that urban public schools and urban private schools have less socioeconomic diversity today than they had several decades ago.
Important new work by Reardon and his collaborators shows that not only test scores but also racial test score gaps vary dramatically across American school districts. In this latter paper, Reardon and coauthors report that while racial/ethnic test score gaps average around 0.6 standard deviations across all school districts, in some districts the gaps are almost nonexistent while in others they exceed 1.2 standard deviations.
"The combination of rising income inequality and rising tuitions has meant that middle-class families increasingly can’t afford private schooling," said Sean Reardon, a Stanford University professor of poverty and inequality in education, who co-authored the study with Harvard University economist Richard Murnane.
Stanford's Educational Opportunity Monitoring Project has dug deeply into available data, searching for what other factors beyond poverty might be influencing the black-white achievement gap.
Researcher Sean Reardon studied the multiple factors that contribute to the gap, using more than 200 million test scores from schools and districts across the country.
Reardon and his fellow researchers wanted to see which factors are most closely correlated with the achievement gap. They looked at two sets of factors that account for about three-fourths of the gap.
The main way well-off families choose schools is by choosing where to live. Increasingly, they’re settling in districts where most children look like theirs. “Rich districts are being created, and leaving middle-to-poor districts behind,” said Ann Owens, a sociologist at the University of Southern California, citing research she conducted with Sean Reardon of Stanford University and Christopher Jencks of Harvard.