Equity & Diversity Letter to the Editor

Reader Questions Integration Findings in Quality Counts

February 24, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

I was troubled by some of the survey results in your most recent Quality Counts report (Jan. 9, 2014)—in particular, by the survey regarding the merger of high- and low-poverty districts, where only about one-third of respondents indicated a belief that such a merger would likely reduce achievement gaps or raise student achievement.

The survey consisted only of school district administrators who are registered users of edweek.org, which indicates Education Week needs to do a better job reporting on the beneficial results of socioeconomic and racial integration in schools.

One excellent recent example of the impact of integration on schools comes from Montgomery County, Md. RAND researcher Heather Schwartz studied the progress of children in public housing who attended largely middle-class schools versus children in public housing who attended predominantly low-income schools.

Public-housing residents who attended lower-poverty schools in so-called “green zones” far outperformed their counterparts at higher-poverty schools. This occurred even though the county directs extra resources to its 60 neediest schools (known as “red zones”) to introduce full-day kindergarten, reduce class size, devote more time to literacy and math, and provide extra professional-development opportunities to teachers.

This research confirms the findings of the Coleman Report, published in 1966, which found student background and socioeconomic status to be more influential than variations in school resources, such as additional funding or smaller classes.

If the benefits of integration have been known for nearly 40 years, with modern research continually confirming earlier findings, why is it that district administrators and consumers of Education Week‘s media are unaware of this research?

While school integration may not be a “hot topic” on par with science, technology, engineering, and math education or the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, the benefits emanating from an integrated school setting are numerous and profound, and the topic deserves equal coverage by this newspaper.

Michael Hilton

Law and Policy Fellow

Poverty & Race Research Action Council

Washington, D.C.

The author also provides volunteer support to the National Coalition on School Diversity.

A version of this article appeared in the February 26, 2014 edition of Education Week as Reader Questions Integration Findings in Quality Counts


Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Equity & Diversity Quiz Quiz: What Are the Challenges and Strategies to Diversifying School Staff?
Test your knowledge of recruitment strategies, the role of mentorship in retaining teachers of color, and more.
1 min read
Rose Chu, founder of Elevate Teaching, speaks about the value of teachers, encouraging people to be in the teaching profession and how to rebrand teaching so good teachers want to join the profession at the Edifying, Elevating, and Uplifting Teachers of Color conference in Minneapolis, Minn., on Oct. 20, 2023.
Rose Chu, the founder of Elevate Teaching, which seeks to build a teaching profession that serves diverse classrooms, speaks about how to rebrand teaching so good teachers want to join the profession at a conference in Minneapolis on Oct. 20, 2023.
Andrea Ellen Reed for Education Week
Equity & Diversity The Perception of Suburban Schools as White and Wealthy Needs to Change, Researchers Say
The student body of suburban schools roughly mirrors that of the nation. But a view of suburban schools as mostly white persists.
3 min read
Peggy Carr, Commissioner of the National Center for Education, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press about the National Assessment of Education Process on Oct. 21, 2022, in Washington.
Peggy Carr, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press on Oct. 21, 2022, in Washington. She spoke at a Nov. 29, 2023, conference in Washington on the growing diversity of the nation's suburban schools.
Alex Brandon/AP
Equity & Diversity Race Is a Big Factor in School Closures. What You Need to Know
Districts are more likely to close majority Black schools, researcher says.
5 min read
Key in keyhole on wood door
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Equity & Diversity Opinion There's a Difference Between Equity and Equality. Schools Need to Understand That
Equity looks different depending on the situation, and it's not always straightforward. That can cause confusion.
15 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."