Can School Integration Increase Student Achievement? Evidence from Hartford Public Schools
Witte, Lucretia Anne
Since Brown vs. Board of Ed prohibited de jure school segregation, the national black-white achievement gap has reflected trends in school integration. Hundreds of programs and policies since then have had only incremental impacts on the disparities in educational outcomes based on race and socioeconomic status. In Hartford, CT, the 1999 Sheff vs. O’Neill case required the State of Connecticut to create an integration program to reduce racial isolation in Hartford’s segregated inner city schools. As a result, Hartford implemented a proactive integration policy. Between 2008 and 2013 the number of poor black and Hispanic students attending an integrated school in Hartford increased twenty percentage points. A difference-in-difference approach was used to test whether this policy had an effect on reading, writing and math proficiency rates, holding demographic factors constant. The study finds that integration status has a positive and highly significant effect on proficiency rates in math and reading and no effect on writing proficiency.
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