A new report by the Urban Institute draws a connection between housing policies and inequities in educational outcomes, shares solutions for addressing segregation, and offers guidance and resources that practitioners can use in their communities to improve equity.
Policies that promoted residential segregation like redlining and exclusionary lending practices have limited both housing and educational opportunities for people of color. Research shows that students in families with low incomes and students of color are more likely to suffer from adverse housing outcomes such as low housing quality, instability, and unaffordability, while also limiting access to neighborhoods with schools and other amenities that have benefited from more public and private investment.
The report notes that school boundaries and geographic school assignments often line up with residential area maps, meaning the legacy of residential segregation persists and its harmful effects contribute to educational inequity. The relationship between residential segregation and inequitable outcomes is more commonly driven by school segregation because residential segregation has concentrated children of color in high-poverty schools. Communities with limited tax bases attributable to historical (and continuing) lack of investment or the undervaluing of property have fewer local resources for schools.
The authors provide strategies to support students living in unstable or gentrifying neighborhoods. After assessing existing conditions, the authors encourage housing practitioners to identify and engage partners at local school districts, prioritize and develop shared outcomes, and implement cross-sector solutions.