Charter School Effects on School Segregation

This quasi-experimental paper by Tomas Monarrez, Brian Kisida, and Matthew Chingos examines the effect of charter schools on school racial segregation using a national data set, focusing on a measure of segregation called the variance ratio index that looks at how predictive a student’s race or ethnicity is of the racial or ethnic composition of their school peers. The authors are able to calculate charter schools’ effect on segregation by looking over time at school districts where charter schools are available for some grade levels but not for others. If there is a change in the level of racial segregation by grade within the same district, it can be attributed to the presence of charter schools. They find that charters increase school segregation for Black, Hispanic, and White students, but this overall pattern varies both by school district characteristics (high-poverty or low-poverty, for example) and across states. However, the effect size is small.

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