Segregated Neighborhoods, Segregated Schools: Do Charters Break a Stubborn Link?

This descriptive study by Peter Rich, Jennifer Candipan, and Ann Owens examines the racial segregation of both neighborhoods and schools when charter schools are introduced. This paper measures segregation using the variance ratio index, which looks at how predictive a student’s race or ethnicity is of the racial or ethnic composition of their school peers. The authors find that increases in charter enrollment share are positively related to school segregation but negatively related to residential segregation between White and Black families. The same general finding holds for segregation between White and Hispanic families. The authors argue that the decoupling of school and residential address has allowed families to move to slightly more integrated neighborhoods while continuing to send their children to highly segregated schools.

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