U.S. school systems are crafting new approaches to desegregation in response to increasing evidence of growing racial isolation and strong evidence of the value of integration. Assuring the success of these initiatives, including creating and sustaining community support, requires clear thinking about measurement and evaluation. And while translating the rich body of integration-related social science research to actionable evaluation can be daunting, avoiding simple “box score” approaches to integration measures can help districts achieve deep, sustainable reform. We, therefore, propose a framework for evaluating broad-scale desegregation initiatives that considers:
Integration Policy Implementation: the barriers and facilitators of policy adoption
Integration Policy Outputs: the immediate, multi-layered outputs of policy implementation (the “box score” done better)
Integration Policy Outcomes: student achievement, critical thinking, school connectedness, school climate, and community support
Arroyo Research Services Senior Associate John Kucsera has been attracting considerable attention for his work with UCLA professor Gary Orfield on the extreme segregation still found in our nation’s school systems 60+ years after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education court ruling. And contrary to what some may expect, the biggest problem is not found in the American South. In fact, a recent study by Kucsera and Orfield, who co-directs the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, discovered that the country’s worst segregation rates in modern day can be found in New York state’s schools.
And the problem doesn’t end there; demographic shifts in places like Southern California, which are representative of changes happening elsewhere in the country, signal a need for more proactive policies that favor integration across the country (see, for example, “Are We Segregated and Satisfied?” in the journal, Urban Education). While progress has been made since Brown for some students, issues like a growing Latino population, increasing socioeconomic disparity, school choice, and finance reform all have an impact on segregation rates. (more…)