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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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The SSRC Library includes resources which may be available only via journal subscription. The SSRC may be able to provide users without subscription access to a particular journal with a single use copy of the full text.  Please email the SSRC with your request.

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  • Individual Author: Blagg, Kristin; Chingos, Matthew; Corcoran, Sean P.; Cordes, Sarah A.; Cowen, Joshua; Denice, Patrick ; Gross, Betheny; Lincove, Jane Arnold ; Sattin-Bajaj, Carolyn; Schwartz, Amy Ellen; Valant, Jon
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    How to get to school is an important issue for families who want to send their children to schools outside their neighborhood and for education policymakers seeking to implement school choice policies that mitigate educational inequality. We analyze travel times between the homes and schools of nearly 190,000 students across five large US cities that offer a significant amount of educational choice:  Denver, Detroit, New Orleans, New York City, and Washington, DC. We find: 

    • Despite wide variation across cities in student transportation policy, there are similar student transportation patterns across our cities. Most students live within a 20-minute drive from home to their school. Older students travel farther to school than younger students, and black students travel farther than white or Hispanic students. Students who are not low income tend to travel farther than their low-income peers.
    • Particularly among older students, those enrolled in traditional public schools tend to travel as far, or in some cases farther, than those attending charter schools....

    How to get to school is an important issue for families who want to send their children to schools outside their neighborhood and for education policymakers seeking to implement school choice policies that mitigate educational inequality. We analyze travel times between the homes and schools of nearly 190,000 students across five large US cities that offer a significant amount of educational choice:  Denver, Detroit, New Orleans, New York City, and Washington, DC. We find: 

    • Despite wide variation across cities in student transportation policy, there are similar student transportation patterns across our cities. Most students live within a 20-minute drive from home to their school. Older students travel farther to school than younger students, and black students travel farther than white or Hispanic students. Students who are not low income tend to travel farther than their low-income peers.
    • Particularly among older students, those enrolled in traditional public schools tend to travel as far, or in some cases farther, than those attending charter schools.
    • Access to “high quality” high schools varies across cities, race and ethnicity, and on the quality measure used. However, ninth-grade students, on average, tend to live about a 10-minute drive from a “high quality” high school.
    • Access to a car can significantly increase the number of schools available to a family. Typical travel times to school by public transit are significantly greater than by car, especially in cities with less efficient transit networks.

    Just as there are inequalities and differences in students’ academic performance across these cities, we see parallel inequalities and differences in the distances that students travel and in the availability of nearby school options. Experiments in targeted policy interventions, such as implementing transportation vouchers for low-income parents of very young students, using yellow buses on circulating routes, or changing the way that school siting decisions are made, might yield pragmatic solutions that further level the playing field for a city’s most disadvantaged students. (Author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: O'Brien, Daniel T.; Hill, Nancy; Contreras, Mariah; Sidoni, Guido
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2018

    Many American cities suffer from de facto residential segregation along lines of race and class, and their school districts have long struggled to find ways to mitigate this segregation in their schools. A common solution is the creation of school choice and assignment policies that enable students to submit a list of schools from across the city that then creates assignments based on a lottery. Such systems, however, result in a need for an extensive amount of transportation, which is burdensome both for the district’s finances and for the families whose children must travel long distances daily. In 2014, Boston, MA sought to reengineer its school choice and assignment system to attend to these challenges. The resulting Home-Based Assignment Plan (HBAP) was a thoughtfully-crafted attempt to provide parents with increased access to good schools, close to home, especially for those students with the lowest level of access. In theory, this would decrease travel distances while also safeguarding against the inequities that are inherent to a residentially-segregated city. The system...

    Many American cities suffer from de facto residential segregation along lines of race and class, and their school districts have long struggled to find ways to mitigate this segregation in their schools. A common solution is the creation of school choice and assignment policies that enable students to submit a list of schools from across the city that then creates assignments based on a lottery. Such systems, however, result in a need for an extensive amount of transportation, which is burdensome both for the district’s finances and for the families whose children must travel long distances daily. In 2014, Boston, MA sought to reengineer its school choice and assignment system to attend to these challenges. The resulting Home-Based Assignment Plan (HBAP) was a thoughtfully-crafted attempt to provide parents with increased access to good schools, close to home, especially for those students with the lowest level of access. In theory, this would decrease travel distances while also safeguarding against the inequities that are inherent to a residentially-segregated city. The system guaranteed each student a “choice basket” from which they could select schools with a minimum number of high-quality schools (i.e., the two nearest top-tier schools; based on Massachusetts standardized tests). Now that HBAP has been in effect for four years, Boston Public Schools (BPS) and the Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI) have partnered to evaluate the extent to which HBAP was successful in its goals of creating 1) more equitable access, 2) more equitable assignment to schools closer to home, and 3) having neighbors be more likely to attend the same school while maintaining geographic and racial diversity within schools. The evaluation has entailed an analysis of choice baskets granted to families, choice submissions made by families, and enrollments for both the three years preceding and following HBAP’s implementation. Substantively, BPS and BARI have decided to focus particularly on potential weaknesses baked into the algorithms that HBAP uses to generate choice baskets. First, equitable access is based on numbers of high-quality schools, not number of high-quality seats nor competition for those high-quality seats, potentially creating a false impressions of equity. Second, distance to school was based on Euclidean distance (i.e., “as the crow flies”) and not on actual distance or time traveled, leading us to use Google Maps API to better estimate the effort required by a family to transport to and from school. Third, the system conflates inclusion of high-quality schools in a choice basket, regardless of distance from home, with perceived ability to attend those schools on the part of the family. Fourth, the implementation of HBAP and other school choice and assignment systems do not account for how family preferences will interact with the system to create emergent outcomes. The talk will examine each of these considerations and their consequences for equity. (author abstract)