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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Choice integrates — and gentrifies

School choice encourages integration and gentrification in low-income, minority neighborhoods, writes Matt Barnum on Chalkbeat.

“The ability to opt out of the neighborhood school increased the likelihood that a mostly black or Hispanic neighborhood would see an influx of wealthier residents,” concluded a national study that looked at magnets, charters, vouchers and open-enrollment options.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, housing prices rose when students in a low-performing school’s attendance zone gained priority to attend high-performing schools, he writes.

“Growing up in high-poverty neighborhoods can hurt kids,” writes Barnum.

If more educated, affluent families integrate a neighborhood, it could lift the prospects of children from low-income families — if they can afford to stay.

However, it’s not likely to improve the neighborhood school. “One study found that gentrification of neighborhoods in Chicago didn’t lead to any gains for existing students attending neighborhood schools, he writes.

Racial segregation declined — slightly — in schools in gentrifying Washington, D.C. neighborhoods, concludes the UCLA Civil Rights Project. Fewer schools are severely segregated.

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