Panel: The Impact and Causes of School Segregation

Thursday, November 7, 2019: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Governor's Square 15 (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizer:  Elizabeth Setren, Tufts University
Panel Chair:  Jacob Vigdor, University of Washington
Discussants:  Lisa Barrow, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Sean Darling-Hammond, University of California, Berkeley

Over sixty years following Brown vs. Board of Education, racial and socioeconomic segregation and lack of equal access to educational opportunities persist. The problem is growing: the proportion of K‐12 public schools with over 75 percent of poor students of color has nearly doubled since 2001 (GAO, 2016). Schools with concentrations of students of color have lower access to educational opportunities including math, science, and college preparation classes (GAO, 2106). Research also links school segregation to widening disparities in academic achievement (Card and Rothstein, 2007; Vigdor and Ludwig, 2007). Racial isolation also limits the exposure of students to people of different backgrounds, which research suggests may help overcome racial stereotypes, learn from other cultures, and reduce prejudice (Godsil et al., 2014; Zebrowitz, White, and Wieneke, 2008).

This session presents new evidence surrounding school segregation and integration.The methods, data, and topics of the session cover a diverse set of approaches to study school segregation. The papers in the session use a range of causal methods to study school segregation: a new border discontinuity design, lottery-based estimates, event study framework and difference-in-differences, and two-stage least squares. The research also use a range of data types, including administrative student data, education non-profit data, and national survey data. Lastly, the papers study school segregation from different angles: urban policy, the role of race in admissions decisions, court-ordered desegregation, and voluntary desegregation. Through covering a range of angles, we will provide a more holistic picture of the impact of segregation and the policy issues surrounding it.

The session brings together a diverse range of voices to bring a variety of perspectives on this important issue. The participants are diverse in terms of gender, race/ethnicity, institutions, and geographic location. We also include a student researcher, along with junior and senior scholars. The participants come from a variety of academic backgrounds, including Economics, Sociology, Public Policy, Law, and Math and work in Economics departments, Public Policy schools, and a quasi-governmental organization (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago). Our session focuses on U.S.-based segregation policy, but one participant is from outside of the U.S. and can lend his unique perspective to the topic. We believe this diversity reflects the theme of the conference and will make for an engaging and productive discussion of school segregation policy.

Educational Consequences of the End of Court-Ordered School Desegregation
Rucker Johnson, University of California, Berkeley

What Determines School Segregation? the Crucial Role of Neighborhood Factors
Hugh Macartney, Duke University and Gregorio Caetano, University of Georgia

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