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 ID Number: 23191, Date Accessed: 3/1/2021 4:52:45 AM

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