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Harming the Best: How Schools Affect the Black-White Achievement Gap

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  • Eric A. Hanushek
  • Steven G. Rivkin

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 grade is higher for students with higher initial achievement and that specific teacher and peer characteristics including teacher experience and peer racial composition 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 in segregation 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.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14211.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
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Publication status: published as Eric A. Hanushek & Steven G. Rivkin, 2009. "Harming the best: How schools affect the black-white achievement gap," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(3), pages 366-393.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14211

Note: CH ED LS PE
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References

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  1. Eric A. Hanushek, 2001. "Black-White Achievement Differences and Governmental Interventions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 24-28, May.
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  3. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Understanding the Black-White Test Score Gap in the First Two Years of School," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 447-464, May.
  4. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2003. "On The Specification and Estimation of The Production Function for Cognitive Achievement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F3-F33, February.
  5. 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).
  6. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin & Daniel M. O'Brien, 2005. "The Market for Teacher Quality," Discussion Papers, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research 04-025, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  7. Eric A. Hanushek & Steven G. Rivkin, 2006. "School Quality and the Black-White Achievement Gap," NBER Working Papers 12651, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Derek A. Neal & William R. Johnson, 1995. "The Role of Pre-Market Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," NBER Working Papers 5124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin & Gregory F. Branch, 2005. "Charter School Quality and Parental Decision Making With School Choice," NBER Working Papers 11252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2001. "Disruption versus Tiebout Improvement: The Costs and Benefits of Switching Schools," NBER Working Papers 8479, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Charles Clotfelter & Elizabeth Glennie & Helen Ladd & Jacob Vigdor, 2006. "Would Higher Salaries Keep Teachers in High-Poverty Schools? Evidence from a Policy Intervention in North Carolina," NBER Working Papers 12285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  17. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2002. "Inferring Program Effects for Special Populations: Does Special Education Raise Achievement for Students with Disabilities?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 584-599, November.
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  25. Kane, Thomas J. & Rockoff, Jonah E. & Staiger, Douglas O., 2008. "What does certification tell us about teacher effectiveness? Evidence from New York City," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 615-631, December.
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  28. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Eric A. Hanushek & Margaret E. Raymond, 2004. "Does School Accountability Lead to Improved Student Performance?," NBER Working Papers 10591, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Richard Murphy & Felix Weinhardt, 2014. "Top of the Class: The Importance of Ordinal Rank," CESifo Working Paper Series 4815, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. Richard J. Murnane, 2013. "U.S High School Graduation Rates: Patterns and Explanations," NBER Working Papers 18701, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Richard Murphy & Felix Weinhardt, 2013. "The Importance of Rank Position," CEP Discussion Papers dp1241, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. 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).
  8. 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).
  9. 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.
  10. Natalia Zinovyeva & Florentino Felgueroso & Pablo Vazquez Vega, 2008. "Immigration and Students' Achievement in Spain," Working Papers 2008-37, FEDEA.
  11. 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.

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