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


Special Education Webinar Reading, Dyslexia, and Equity: Best Practices for Addressing a Threefold Challenge
Learn about proven strategies for instruction and intervention that support students with dyslexia.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Personalized Learning Webinar
No Time to Waste: Individualized Instruction Will Drive Change
Targeted support and intervention can boost student achievement. Join us to explore tutoring’s role in accelerating the turnaround. 
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools
Student Well-Being K-12 Essentials Forum Social-Emotional Learning: Making It Meaningful
Join us for this event with educators and experts on the damage the pandemic did to academic and social and emotional well-being.

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 More States Push Schools to Drop Native American Mascots
At states' urging, schools will drop Native American mascots, citing the harm of racist stereotypes. The changes bring logistical and political challenges.
6 min read
A high school football player in a blue helmet with an orange arrow on it tackles a player in a white and green uniform.
A player from the Westlake High School Warriors in Thousand Oaks, Calif., plays football in a helmet with an arrowhead logo. California has banned only certain Native American-themed mascots, but other states have passed broader restrictions.
Alex Gallardo
Equity & Diversity Schools Trying to Prioritize Equity Have Their Work Cut Out for Them, Survey Shows
The pandemic exacerbated pre-existing inequities in education. Practitioners and researchers offer advice on how to move forward.
5 min read
v42 16 sr equity cover intro 112322
Illustration by Chris Whetzel for Education Week
Equity & Diversity Schools Are Resegregating. There's a Push for the Supreme Court to Consider That
As the court weighs race-conscious college admissions policies, some say the needs of resegregating K-12 schools ought to be considered, too.
8 min read
v42 16 sr equity segregation 112322
Illustration by Chris Whetzel for Education Week