A PRRAC-NCSD Report (October 2011).
Excerpt: Families who participated in the Baltimore Mobility Program experienced radical changes in their local neighborhood contexts, moving from poor and segregated areas to mixed race, low poverty communities. In this paper, we look at the changes in educational opportunity that accompanied these moves. Given the demonstrated link between residential segregation and school quality, we would expect that giving families the opportunity to move to non-segregated, low poverty neighborhoods would increase access to higher quality school environments. As we show, this is exactly what has happened—the moves that families made with the program greatly increased the quality of the schools their children can attend, as measured by increases in the academic performance of the student body and teacher qualifications, as well as large decreases the poverty rate of the schools. These findings are significant for potential long-term outcomes from the program, as research suggests that middle-class schools can positively influence student achievement. For example, Schwartz’s recent findings that children from low-income families in Montgomery County, Maryland benefit from attending low-poverty schools might be especially relevant to the Baltimore Mobility Program. Children in the Baltimore Program have the opportunity to experience even more dramatic changes in school poverty level as a result of the program, which allows them to move from some of the poorest schools in the state to ones that are similar to those Schwartz found to be beneficial for increasing achievement.