Dynamism between Education and Residential Contexts and Educational Opportunities and Outcomes
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
A vast body of evidence demonstrates that family, school, and community contexts affect students’ short and long-term outcomes, ranging from educational attainment and income to physical and socioemotional health. While most studies examine these contexts as siloed forces on adolescents’ lives, a growing literature recognizes the dynamic relationships between young people’s socioeconomic and racial background, where they live, and the types of schools they attend. This panel convenes researchers studying the intersections of school and residential contexts, economic inequalities, and student educational opportunities and outcomes.
The first paper in our panel explores the role of income and wealth in families’ choices for school districts. While research has consistently demonstrated White families’ propensities to move into school districts with more White students, no study has evaluated whether this pattern is driven primarily by affluent Whites or its effects on the educational options for lower-income families. Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and a rich set of contextual measures, the author answers these critical questions and reveals how individual choices accumulate to reproduce spatial segregation and educational inequality. The second paper investigates one consequence of these racialized sorting patterns across school districts: racial disparities in school district funding. The authors leverage national data on school district expenditures and demographics from the School Funding Fairness Data System to show, even after accounting for racial disparities in poverty, that increased racial segregation within states associates with larger racial disparities in per pupil spending. This study provides further evidence that racial segregation perpetuates racial education opportunity gaps. The third paper also examines a potentially important dynamic between communities and education: the effects of the foreclosure crisis, disproportionately felt in Black and Latino neighborhoods, on student academic achievement. Using Stanford Education Data Archive (SEDA) and RealtyTrac data, this project involves estimating changes over time in district-level student achievement in response to foreclosures, while controlling for a host of potentially confounding factors. Analyses reveal that middle school students who attended schools in districts with higher foreclosure rates, on average, had lower Math standardized test scores. This project adds to the growing evidence on the proliferating effects of the spatially concentrated economic crisis on young people’s educational outcomes. Finally, the fourth paper uses policy case studies to explore how education initiatives and housing agencies partner to support vulnerable families. Although these partnerships have grown substantially over the past decade, there has been little systematic review of their practices and successes. This study addresses this gap. It documents the scope of these partnerships, their focus on discrete populations or systemic changes in practice, and their success in improving student academic and family economic outcomes.
The inclusion of these four papers, each analyzing a different aspect of the educational experience, will provide policymakers with new insight into how educational inequality is shaped by various institutional and environmental factors. It will also shed light on unforeseen consequences of policy implementation among youth.