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Are High-Quality Schools Enough to Increase Achievement among the Poor? Evidence from the Harlem Children's Zone

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  • Will Dobbie
  • Roland G. Fryer
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    Abstract

    Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ), an ambitious social experiment, combines community programs with charter schools. We provide the first empirical test of the causal impact of HCZ charters on educational outcomes. Both lottery and instrumental variable identification strategies suggest that the effects of attending an HCZ middle school are enough to close the black-white achievement gap in mathematics. The effects in elementary school are large enough to close the racial achievement gap in both mathematics and ELA. We conclude with evidence that suggests high-quality schools are enough to significantly increase academic achievement among the poor. Community programs appear neither necessary nor sufficient. (JEL H75, I21, I28, J13, R23)

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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.3.3.158
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (July)
    Pages: 158-87

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:3:y:2011:i:3:p:158-87

    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.3.3.158
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    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2002. "Remedial Education and Student Achievement: A Regression-Discontinuity Analysis," NBER Working Papers 8918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Angrist, Joshua & Lang, Kevin, 2004. "Does School Integration Generate Peer Effects? Evidence from Boston's Metco Program," IZA Discussion Papers 976, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 2000. "School Quality and the Longer-Term Effects of Head Start," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 755-774.
    4. Jonah E. Rockoff, 2004. "The Impact of Individual Teachers on Student Achievement: Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 247-252, May.
    5. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2005. "The Black-White Test Score Gap Through Third Grade," NBER Working Papers 11049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Brian A. Jacob & Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Rotten Apples: An Investigation Of The Prevalence And Predictors Of Teacher Cheating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 843-877, August.
    7. Lisa Sanbonmatsu & Jeffrey R. Kling & Greg J. Duncan & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2006. "Neighborhoods and Academic Achievement: Results from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment," NBER Working Papers 11909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
    9. Daniel Aaronson & Lisa Barrow & William Sander, 2007. "Teachers and Student Achievement in the Chicago Public High Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 95-135.
    10. Robert Kaestner & Kevin Callison, 2011. "Adolescent Cognitive and Noncognitive Correlates of Adult Health," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(1), pages 29 - 69.
    11. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Esther Duflo & Leigh Linden, 2007. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1235-1264, 08.
    12. Jens Ludwig & Douglas L. Miller, 2005. "Does Head Start Improve Children's Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," NBER Working Papers 11702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Michael J. Podgursky & Matthew G. Springer, 2007. "Teacher performance pay: A review," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(4), pages 909-950.
    14. Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1998. "Private School Vouchers And Student Achievement: An Evaluation Of The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 553-602, May.
    15. Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2010. "Financial Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from Randomized Trials," NBER Working Papers 15898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Thomas J. Kane & Jonah E. Rockoff & Douglas O. Staiger, 2006. "What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City," NBER Working Papers 12155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2008. "Estimating Teacher Impacts on Student Achievement: An Experimental Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 14607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Jacob, Brian A., 2005. "Accountability, incentives and behavior: the impact of high-stakes testing in the Chicago Public Schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 761-796, June.
    19. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian Jacob & Steven Levitt, 2000. "The Impact of School Choice on Student Outcomes: An Analysis of the Chicago Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 7888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Christopher Jepsen & Steven Rivkin, 2002. "What is the Tradeoff Between Smaller Classes and Teacher Quality?," NBER Working Papers 9205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Brian Jacob & Jens Ludwig, 2008. "Improving Educational Outcomes for Poor Children," NBER Working Papers 14550, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Julie Berry Cullen & Steven D. Levitt & Erin Robertson & Sally Sadoff, 2013. "What Can Be Done to Improve Struggling High Schools?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 133-52, Spring.
    2. Calsamiglia, Caterina & Güell, Maia, 2014. "The Illusion of School Choice: Empirical Evidence from Barcelona," IZA Discussion Papers 8202, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Elizabeth U. Cascio & Douglas O. Staiger, 2012. "Knowledge, Tests, and Fadeout in Educational Interventions," NBER Working Papers 18038, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Calsamiglia, Caterina & Guell, Maia, 2014. "The Illusion of School Choice: Empirical Evidence from Barcelona," Working Papers 712, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    5. Kertesi, Gábor & Kézdi, Gábor, 2012. "A roma és nem roma tanulók teszteredményei közti különbségekről és e különbségek okairól
      [The Roma/non-Roma test-score gap in Hungarian education]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(7), pages 798-853.
    6. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List & Susanne Neckermann & Sally Sadoff, 2012. "The Behavioralist Goes to School: Leveraging Behavioral Economics to Improve Educational Performance," NBER Working Papers 18165, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2013. "The Aggregate Effect of School Choice: Evidence from a Two-stage Experiment in India," NBER Working Papers 19441, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Tuttle, Christina Clark & Gleason, Philip & Clark, Melissa, 2012. "Using lotteries to evaluate schools of choice: Evidence from a national study of charter schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 237-253.
    9. Seals, Richard Alan & Stern, Liliana V., 2013. "Cognitive ability and the division of labor in urban ghettos: Evidence from gang activity in U.S. data," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 140-149.
    10. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie & Mariesa Herrmann, 2011. "From Infant to Mother: Early Disease Environment and Future Maternal Health," NBER Working Papers 17676, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Joshua D. Angrist & Sarah R. Cohodes & Susan M. Dynarski & Parag A. Pathak & Christopher R. Walters, 2013. "Stand and Deliver: Effects of Boston's Charter High School on College Preparation, Entry, and Choice," CESifo Working Paper Series 4396, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Will Dobbie & Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2013. "The Medium-Term Impacts of High-Achieving Charter Schools on Non-Test Score Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 19581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Felipe Barrera-Osorio & Dario Maldonado & Catherine Rodríguez, 2012. "Calidad de la educación básica y media en Colombia: diagnóstico y propuestas," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 010078, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
    14. Carruthers, Celeste K. & Wanamaker, Marianne H., 2013. "Closing the gap? The effect of private philanthropy on the provision of African-American schooling in the U.S. south," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 53-67.

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