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Harming the best: How schools affect the black-white achievement gap

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  • Eric A. Hanushek

    (Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution of Stanford University and Chair of the Executive Committee, Texas Schools Project, University of Texas, Dallas)

  • Steven G. Rivkin

    (Professor of Economics, Amherst College and Director of Research, Texas Schools Project, University of Texas, Dallas)

Abstract

Sizeable achievement differences by race appear in early grades, but substantial uncertainty exists about the impact of school quality on the black-white achievement gap and particularly about its evolution across different parts of the achievement distribution. Texas administrative data show that the overall growth in the achievement gap between third and eighth grades is larger for students with higher initial achievement and that specific teacher and peer characteristics explain a substantial share of the widening. The adverse effect of attending school with a high black enrollment share appears to be an important contributor to the larger growth in the achievement differential in the upper part of the test score distribution. This evidence reaffirms the major role played by peers and school quality, but also presents a policy dilemma. Teacher labor market complications, current housing patterns, legal limits to desegregation efforts, and uncertainty about the overall effects of specific desegregation programs indicate that effective policy responses will almost certainly involve a set of school improvements beyond simple changes in peer racial composition and the teacher experience distribution. © 2009 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 366-393

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:28:y:2009:i:3:p:366-393

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Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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  2. Hanushek, Eric A. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2008. "The role of cognitive skills in economic development," Munich Reprints in Economics 20454, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin & Gregory F. Branch, 2005. "Charter School Quality and Parental Decision Making with School Choice," Discussion Papers 04-024, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Diette, Timothy M. & Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth, 2012. "Do Significant Immigrant Inflows Create Negative Education Impacts? Lessons from the North Carolina Public School System," IZA Discussion Papers 6561, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Natalia Zinovyeva & Florentino Felgueroso & Pablo Vazquez, 2014. "Immigration and student achievement in Spain: evidence from PISA," SERIEs, Spanish Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 25-60, March.
  3. Natalia Zinovyeva & Florentino Felgueroso & Pablo Vazquez Vega, 2008. "Immigration and Students' Achievement in Spain," Working Papers 2008-37, FEDEA.
  4. Richard Murphy & Felix Weinhardt, 2014. "Top of the Class: The Importance of Ordinal Rank," CESifo Working Paper Series 4815, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Antecol, Heather & Eren, Ozkan & Ozbeklik, Serkan, 2013. "Peer Effects in Disadvantaged Primary Schools: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 7694, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Diette, Timothy M. & Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth, 2013. "Gender and Race Heterogeneity: The Impact of Increases in Students with Limited English on Native Students' Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 7856, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Stephanie Potochnick, 2014. "The Academic Adaptation of Children of Immigrants in New and Established Settlement States: The Role of Family, Schools, and Neighborhoods," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 335-364, June.
  8. Richard J. Murnane, 2013. "U.S High School Graduation Rates: Patterns and Explanations," NBER Working Papers 18701, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Richard Murphy & Felix Weinhardt, 2013. "The Importance of Rank Position," CEP Discussion Papers dp1241, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. McMullen, Steven C. & Rouse, Kathryn E., 2012. "School crowding, year-round schooling, and mobile classroom use: Evidence from North Carolina," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 812-823.
  11. Richard J. Murnane, 2013. "U.S. High School Graduation Rates: Patterns and Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(2), pages 370-422, June.

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