A newly formed and different pattern of America’s signature brand of societal inequality has been on the rise since the beginning of the so-called Great Recession, which started in December of 2007.
In recent history, an online newsletter published regularly by the Brookings Institute called the Brown Center Chalkboard offered a report titled Growing Economic Segregation Among School Districts and Schools. This report discussed the findings of a study conducted by three researchers from three prominent American universities.
A four-volume working paper based on this study titled Trends In Economic School Segregation: 1970 to 2010 was written by Ann Owens, Sean F. Reardon, and Christopher Jencks. Owens is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Spatial Sciences at the University of Southern California.
Reardon is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Economic Policy Research at Stanford University. Jencks is the Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. These three social scientists found that the racial segregation happening in school districts today comes down to one thing: Money.
“We measured segregation in terms of how unevenly students are distributed between school districts or schools in comparison to the composition of the metropolitan area (or the district in the case of segregation between schools),” Owens wrote in her article published in the Brown Center Chalkboard.
“We also found that segregation by family income between school districts within metropolitan areas rose from 1970 to 2010. Looking only at families with children enrolled in public school from 1990 to 2010, segregation by family income between school districts rose by nearly 20 percent,” she also wrote.
Owens and her fellow authors accurately point out the racial implications relevant to the growing trend of economic segregation as well. A portion of their four-volume working paper reads as follows:
“School income segregation is about two-thirds as large as black-white segregation and approximately as large as Hispanic-white segregation, suggesting that income is an important (and growing) source of stratification for public school students. Third, high levels of income segregation may affect political support for public education. High-income families generally have more political influence than low-income families, and high-income families in highly segregated metropolitan areas have little incentive to advocate for increases in metropolitan- or state-wide school funding if their own high-income district has substantial resources.” (cepa.standford.edu)
Visit links two through five to read each volume of the Owens, Reardon, and Jencks working paper about income-based racial segregation among America’s school districts.