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Does Neighborhood Gentrification Create School Desegregation?

by Kfir Mordechay & Jennifer B. Ayscue - 2020

Background/Context: Race and class inequality have long governed patterns of residential and school segregation across America. However, as neighborhoods across the country that have historically been home to residents of color experience an influx of White and middle-class residents, new questions arise as to whether these demographic shifts in neighborhoods correspond to school-level demographic changes. Purpose: This study examines Washington, DCís most gentrifying areas, and the impact on racial diversity in local public schools.

Research Design: This quantitative study draws on data from the decennial census, the American Community Survey, and the National Center for Educational Statistics. Findings/Results: This study finds evidence that school enrollment patterns in Washington, DCís most rapidly gentrifying areas have seen a reduction in racial segregation, more so in traditional public schools than in charters. Although this trend is promising, a high level of racial segregation remains, and progress is still needed to ensure that newly integrated neighborhoods also mean desegregated schools.

Conclusions/Recommendations: Given barriers to school desegregation efforts, gentrification is offering a unique opportunity to create racially and economically diverse schools. However, managing the process of gentrification such that it supports school desegregation requires coordinated and targeted policies that underscore the fundamental relationships among housing, communities, and schools.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 122 Number 5, 2020, p. 1-34
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 23191, Date Accessed: 1/24/2021 10:02:34 PM

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About the Author
  • Kfir Mordechay
    Pepperdine University
    E-mail Author
    KFIR MORDECHAY is an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Education and Psychology at Pepperdine University and a research affiliate for the UCLA Civil Rights Project. His research focuses on metropolitan and neighborhood demographic trends, social and urban policy, and race and immigration in U.S. society. His scholarship has been published in journals such as Urban Education, The Urban Review, and Educational Leadership.
  • Jennifer Ayscue
    North Carolina State University
    E-mail Author
    JENNIFER B. AYSCUE is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development at North Carolina State University. Her research focuses on school desegregation in KĖ12 schools, policies and practices that facilitate or constrain desegregation and integration efforts, and ways of remedying civil rights violations in education. Previously, Dr. Ayscue served as an American Educational Research Association Congressional Fellow in the United States Senate and as a research associate at The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at University of California, Los Angles. Recent publications include Discrimination in Elite Public Schools: Investigating Buffalo, co-edited with Gary Orfield, and articles in Education Policy Analysis Archives, Educational Policy, and Phi Delta Kappan.
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