February 8, 2018

Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, (804) 828-8213, gsiegelhawley@vcu.edu
Daniel J. Quinn, (517) 203-2940, dquinn@greatlakescenter.org

Brookings report tackles important issue of school and housing segregation, misses opportunity for deeper consideration

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Feb. 8, 2018) — A recent report from the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution attempted to explore school and racial segregation. The report suggested that racially concentrated schools were the result of residential segregation and that charter schools could interrupt this school-housing relationship found among public school districts. However, an academic review by two prominent scholars finds the report falls short and its usefulness for research and policymaking is limited.

The report, Balancing Act: Schools, Neighborhoods, and Racial Imbalance, was reviewed for the Think Twice think tank review project by Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Erica Frankenberg, Penn State University. Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado Boulder, is funded in part by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. Siegel-Hawley and Frankenberg study the impact of race and poverty on schools across the U.S.

Despite claiming that charters held the possibility to disrupt school segregation, the report found charters to be, on average, more racially imbalanced than traditional public schools.

In their review, Siegel-Hawley and Frankenberg call into question the report's shaky grounding in the research, law, and methods. The reviewers found fault with the report's methodological decisions, which undermined the usefulness of the report and its accompanying database.

The reviewers write, "Many of the report's methodological choices were not justified by the research literature, raising serious questions about the validity of the findings and conclusions."

Siegel-Hawley and Frankenberg say the report deserves some credit for tackling the nexus between school and housing segregation, but find the report presents a missed opportunity for deeper consideration.

Find the review on the GLC website:

Find the original report on the web:

Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The review can also be found on the NEPC website:

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The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

Visit the Great Lakes Center website at http://www.greatlakescenter.org/