achievement gap

  • Source: "Coming apart"  

    Segregation Over TimeIn February of 1968, the Kerner Commission report was released, warning of deepening divisions between black and white America. Fifty years on, de jure segregation has been virtually eliminated. A 1948 Supreme Court decision prohibited race-based covenants that forbid whites from selling or renting to anyone of a different race. The 1968 Fair Housing At eliminated "red lining" where real estate agents herded peoole into separate neighborhoods based on race. However, since 1968, de facto segregation by both race and income has increased. 

     14 million Americans live in areas of concentrated poverty, defined as a region where 40% or more of the population makes less than the federal poverty level or about $25,000 of annual income for a family of four. This number has doubled (!) since 2000 and it applies disproportionately to people of color. 25% of all low income black families live in areas of concentrated poverty versus 17% of Hispanics and only 8% of poor whites. Today's most segregated areas (see chart above) are inthe urban Northeast.

    The impacts of segregation take a long time to right themselves. Even today as shown by a 2016 Pew study, the median income for a black family headed by the holder of a college degree is $26,300. The median income fr the same type of white family is $301,000! Sean Reardon of Stanford has demonstrated that the achievement gap between low income and high income students is twice as great as the gap between black and white students.

    Possible solutions: HUD had a "Moving to Opportunity" program in which poor families were given vouchers to move into more affluent areas. Chidren in this program who moved before age 13 grew up to have incomes 30% higher than children who stayed behind in areas of concentrated poverty. The HUD program is underfunded - only one in four of those who qualify for it can obtain entry into the program. Waiting lists are years long.