School & District Management

Study Finds Interdistrict Choice Closing Achievement Gap

November 13, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Is the solution to closing the achievement gap in the suburbs?

Judging from the findings of this new study by Columbia University researchers, the answer is yes.

After examining the nation’s eight remaining desegregation programs that enable disadvantaged students to cross school district boundary lines to attend more-affluent, suburban public schools, the researchers conclude that the programs are “far more successful than recent choice and accountability policies at closing the achievement gap and offering meaningful school choices.”

It’s a fascinating conclusion that runs counter to most of the methods and strategies at work in public education right now to close the achievement gap. The authors acknowledge that the programs--in Boston, East Palo Alto, Calif., Hartford, Conn., Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Rochester, N.Y., and St. Louis--are “out of sync” with current practice. Except for the program in Minneapolis, all have been in place for at least two decades, and all the programs stem from court rulings and legislation meant to create equitable educational opportunities for disadvantaged students.

The research team, led by Amy Stuart Wells, a professor of sociology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, will present its findings today at a conference at Howard University in Washington. The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, based at Harvard Law School, convened the conference and is using the study’s findings to call for restoring “a desegregation focus to U.S. education policy.”

The authors also conclude that the desegregation programs have improved racial attitudes in the mostly white suburban communities where the urban kids attend school.

So, should we be talking as much about letting poor students in failing urban schools transfer to high-performing suburban campuses, as we do about creating more charter schools and other alternatives for them in their neighborhoods?

Take a look at the study and the specific findings for each city, then let us know what you think.

RELATED: Check out Russo’s earlier post here on the proposed new student assignment plan in Chicago’s magnet schools, which would use socioeconomic factors as a way to make schools more diverse.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.

Events

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.
Sponsor
IT Infrastructure Webinar
A New Era In Connected Learning: Security, Accessibility and Affordability for a Future-Ready Classroom
Learn about Windows 11 SE and Surface Laptop SE. Enable students to unlock learning and develop new skills.
Content provided by Microsoft Surface
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum Making Technology Work Better in Schools
Join experts for a look at the steps schools are taking (or should take) to improve the use of technology in schools.
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.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
The ABCs of ESSER: How to Make the Most of Relief Funds Before They Expire
Join a diverse group of K-12 experts to learn how to leverage federal funds before they expire and improve student learning environments.
Content provided by Johnson Controls

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

School & District Management 'It Has to Be a Priority': Why Schools Can't Ignore the Climate Crisis
Schools have a part to play in combating climate change, but they don't always know how.
16 min read
Composite image of school building and climate change protestors.
Illustration by F. Sheehan/Education Week (Images: iStock/Getty and E+)
School & District Management Some Districts Return to Mask Mandates as COVID Cases Spike
Mask requirements remain the exception nationally and still sensitive in places that have reimposed them.
4 min read
Students are reminded to wear a mask amidst other chalk drawings on the sidewalk as they arrive for the first day of school at Union High School in Tulsa, Okla., Monday, Aug. 24, 2020.
Chalk drawings from last August remind students to wear masks as they arrive at school.
Mike Simons/Tulsa World via AP
School & District Management Women Get Overlooked for the Superintendent's Job. How That Can Change
Three female superintendents spell out concrete solutions from their own experience.
4 min read
Susana Cordova, former superintendent for Denver Public Schools.
Susana Cordova is deputy superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District and former superintendent for Denver Public Schools.
Allison V. Smith for Education Week
School & District Management Opinion You Can't Change Schools Without Changing Yourself First
Education leaders have been under too much stress keeping up with day-to-day crises to make the sweeping changes schools really need.
Renee Owen
5 min read
conceptual illustration of a paper boat transforming into an origami bird before falling off a cliff
wildpixel/iStock/Getty