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Public School Choice and Integration in NC

Public School Choice and Integration in NC

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Published by Education Justice

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Published by: Education Justice on May 18, 2010
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 Public School Choiceand Integration
Evidence from Durham,North Carolina
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Public School Choice and IntegrationEvidence from Durham, North Carolina
Robert Bifulco, Department of Public Policy, University of ConnecticutHelen F. Ladd, Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Duke UniversityStephen Ross, Department of Economics, University of ConnecticutAcknowledgmentsThe authors wish to thank Clara Muschkin for comments on the paper and Justin Knight for hisefforts as a research assistant. We would also like to acknowledge the assistance and supportreceived from North Carolina Education Research Data Center, especially Gary Thompson’sassistance with student address data, from Bill Bartholomay at Durham Public Schools at theCity of Durham, and from Rob Cushman from City of Durham Technology Solutions. Thisresearch was done with the support of the National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Datain Education Research (CALDER). CALDER is funded by IES Grant R305A060018 to theUrban Institute. The views in this paper do not necessarily reflect those of CALDER, theInstitute of Education Sciences, the University of Connecticut, Duke University, or any othersponsors of this research.JEL Codes: H31, I20, R28Corresponding Author: Steve Ross, Department of Economics, University of Connecticut, 341Mansfield Road U-63, Storrs, CT 06269-1063, Stephen.L.Ross@uconn.edu, 860-486-3533.
Public School Choice and IntegrationEvidence from Durham, North Carolina
AbstractUsing evidence from Durham, North Carolina, we examine the impact of school choiceprograms on racial and class-based segregation across schools. Theoretical considerationssuggest that how choice programs affect segregation will depend not only on the familypreferences emphasized in the sociology literature but also on the linkages between studentcomposition, school quality, and student achievement emphasized in the economics literature,and on the availability of schools of different types. Reasonable assumptions about how thesefactors differ for students of different races and socio-economic status suggest that thesegregating choices of students from advantaged backgrounds are likely to outweigh anyintegrating choices by disadvantaged students. The results of our empirical analysis areconsistent with these theoretical considerations. Using information on the actual schools studentsattend and on the schools in their assigned attendance zones, we find that schools in Durham aremore segregated by race and class as a result of school choice programs than they would be if allstudents attended their geographically assigned schools. In addition, we find that the effects of choice on segregation by class are larger than the effects on segregation by race.Note: Citations to * in the text represents citations to a paper authored or coauthored by one of the coauthors of this submission. These papers also have been removed from the references.

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