Monday, February 29, 2016

Students of Color Are Much More Likely to Attend High-Poverty Schools - The Atlantic

Students of Color Are Much More Likely to Attend High-Poverty Schools - The Atlantic:

The Concentration of Poverty in American Schools

An exclusive Next America analysis uncovers that students of color in the largest 100 cities in the United States are much more likely to attend schools where most of their peers are poor or low-income.

In almost all major American cities, most African American and Hispanic students attend public schools where a majority of their classmates qualify as poor or low-income, a new analysis of federal data shows.
This systemic economic and racial isolation looms as a huge obstacle for efforts to expand opportunity because researchers have found that the single-most powerful predictor of racial gaps in educational achievement is the extent to which students attend schools surrounded by other low-income students.
Underscoring the breadth of the challenge, the economic segregation of minority students persists across virtually all types of cities, from fast-growing Sunbelt places like Austin, Denver, Dallas, and Charlotte to struggling Rust Belt communities like Detroit, Cleveland, and Milwaukee, to the nation’s largest metropolitan centers, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston. But cities, educators, and researchers are also exploring new ways to abate the negative impact of concentrated poverty on black and brown students.

The economic isolation is so intense that in about half of the largest 100 cities, most African American and Latino students attend schools where at least 75 percent of all students qualify as poor or low-income under federal guidelines. These stark results emerge from a Next America analysis of data from the National Equity Atlas. The Atlas is a joint project of PolicyLink and the University of Southern California’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, or PERE. Following federal guidelines, the National Equity Atlas defines low-income students as those eligible for the federal free- and reduced-lunch program. That includes students with incomes up to $44,863 for a family of four, or 185 percent of the federal poverty line. (Students from families with incomes up to the 130 percent of the poverty line, or $31,525 for a family of four, are eligible for free lunch; the remainder can obtain reduced price lunches.)
The overwhelming isolation of students of color in schools with mostly low-income classmates threatens to undermine efforts both to improve educational outcomes and to provide a pipeline of skilled workers for the economy at a time when such students comprise a majority of the nation’s public school enrollment. Educational reformers are quick to underscore that in individual schools around the country dedicated teachers and principals have produced impressive results even for students submerged in communities of pervasive poverty. But, overall, concentrated poverty is tightly correlated with gaps in educational achievement.
“It’s the measure of segregation that is most strongly correlated to the racial Students of Color Are Much More Likely to Attend High-Poverty Schools - The Atlantic: