Charter Schools, Socioeconomic Segregation and Achievement Gaps

Awarded Scholars:
Kari Dalane, American University
Project Date:
Sep 2021
Award Amount:
$7,500

Segregation of students by socioeconomic status (SES) has been rising in U.S. schools, with potential consequences for achievement gaps by income. In this project, Dalane will explore how a form of public school choice has shaped recent patterns in socioeconomic segregation of students and achievement gaps. Dalane will exploit variation in the timing and growth of charter schools within the boundaries of districts to examine whether charter school growth within a school district leads to higher achievement gaps by SES status. Dalane will extend an instrumental variables strategy using timing of the first charter in a district along with changes in legislative caps in charter schools to identify plausibly causal effects of charter school growth on socioeconomic achievement gaps. The findings will be relevant for understanding whether encouraging or restricting the number of charter schools operating in a school district can affect achievement gaps by SES status.

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