Housing, Neighborhood and Schools

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Does City-Subsidized Owner-Occupied Housing Improve School Quality? Evidence from New York City

Colin C. Chellman, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Brian J. McCabe, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Leanna Stiefel
Journal of the American Planning Association, 77(2): 127-144 


 

Policymakers and community development practitioners view increasing subsidized owner-occupied housing as a mechanism to improve urban neighborhoods, but little research studies the impact of such investments on community amenities. In this study, the authors examine the impact of subsidized owner-occupied housing on the quality of local schools and compare them to the impacts of city investments in rental units. Using data from the New York City Department of Education (DOE) and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), they estimate three main sets of regressions, exploring student characteristics, school resources, and school outcomes. The authors find that the completion of subsidized owner-occupied housing is associated with a decrease in schools' percentage of free-lunch eligible students, an increase in schools' percentage of White students, and, controlling for these compositional changes, an increase in scores on standardized reading and math exams. By contrast, their results suggest that investments in rental housing have little, if any, effect. 

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 Foreclosure and Kids: Does Losing Your Home Mean Losing Your School? (2011) 

Vicki Been, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Leanna Stiefel, Meryle Weinstein
IESP & The Furman Center 

The recent foreclosure crisis has plagued nearly every city in the U.S., including New York City. Despite considerable attention to the causes of these mortgage foreclosures and the consequences they have had for communities, we know little about their impacts on individual families and children. This policy brief examines the prevalence of foreclosure among buildings housing New York City public school students and explores the relationship between foreclosures and student mobility. Specifically, the authors examine whether children who live in properties entering foreclosure are more likely than their peers to switch schools. This brief also explores how the new schools the children attend after moving differ from their origin schools, in terms of student demographics and performance. Key findings include that public school students living in buildings in foreclosure were more likely to change schools in the year following a foreclosure notice than other students, and the effect was amplified for children in multi-family buildings.

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Does Losing Your Home Mean Losing Your School? Effects of Foreclosure on the School Mobility of Children (2011)

Vicki Been, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Leanna Stiefel, Meryle Weinstein
Regional Science and Urban Economics, 41: 407-414

In the last few years, millions of homes around the country have entered foreclosure, pushing many families out of their homes and potentially forcing their children to move to new schools. Unfortunately, despite considerable attention to the causes and consequences of mortgage defaults, we understand little about the distribution and severity of these impacts on school children. This paper takes a step toward filling that gap through studying how foreclosures in New York City affect the mobility of public school children across schools. A significant body of research suggests that, in general, switching schools is costly for students, though the magnitude of the effectdepends critically on the nature of the move and the quality of the origin and destination schools.

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Kids and Foreclosures: New York City (2010)

Vicki Been, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Leanna Stiefel, Meryle Weinstein
IESP & the Furman Center

The mortgage foreclosure crisis has affected millions of households around the country. Researchers and policy makers have begun to pay attention to the external costs that these foreclosures impose on surrounding properties and neighborhoods, but few have considered the collateral costs for children, who may, as a result of foreclosures, be forced to leave their homes, communities and schools. Moreover, even children whose families are able to stay in their homes may experience considerable stress from the foreclosure process.

In this report, the authors use a unique data set on New York City students to examine the extent to which the City's school children have been affected by foreclosures. Specifically, they link student-level academic records to building-level foreclosure data in New York City to address three questions about children living in properties entering foreclosure. First, how many students live in properties entering foreclosure? Second, what are the characteristics of those students and how do they compare to those of the full population of students attending New York City's public schools? Third, are students living in properties going through foreclosure concentrated in particular schools, and if so, what are the characteristics of those schools?

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Click here to read the press release

Public Schools, Public Housing: The Education of Children Living in Public Housing (2010)

Amy Ellen Schwartz, Brian J. McCabe, Ingrid Gould Ellen, and Colin C. Chellman
Urban Affairs Review, 20(10): 1-22

In the United States, public housing developments are predominantly located in neighborhoods with low median incomes, high rates of poverty and disproportionate concentrations of minorities. While research consistently shows that public housing developments are located in economically and socially disadvantaged neighborhoods, we know little about the characteristics of the schools serving students living in public housing. In this paper, the authors examine the characteristics of elementary and middle schools attended by students living in public housing developments in New York City. Using the proportion of public housing students attending each elementary and middle school as our weight, the authors calculate the weighted average of school characteristics to describe the typical school attended by students living in public housing.

They then compare these characteristics to those of the typical school attended by other students throughout the city in an effort to assess whether students living in public housing attend systematically different schools than other students. They find no large differences between the resources of the schools attended by students living in public housing and the schools attended by their peers living elsewhere in the city; however, we find significant differences in student characteristics and performance onstandardized exams. These school differences, however, fail to fully explain the performance disparities amongst students. Our results point to a need for more nuanced analyses of the policies and practices in schools, as well as the outside-of-school factors that shape educational success, to identify and address the needs of students in public housing.

 

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Do Public Schools Disadvantage Students Living in Public Housing? (2009)

Amy Ellen Schwartz, Brian J. McCabe, Ingrid Gould Ellen and Colin Chellman
IESP Working Paper #09-08

This paper examines the characteristics of elementary and middle schools attended by students living in public housing developments in New York City. Using the proportion of public housing students attending each elementary and middle school as our weight, the authors calculate the weighted average of school characteristics to describe the typical school attended by students living in public housing. Then, the authors compare these characteristics to those of the typical school attended by other students throughout the city in an effort to assess whether public schools systematically disadvantage students in public housing in New York City.

On one hand, they find no large differences between the resources of the schools attended by students living in public housing and the schools attended by their peers living elsewhere in the city; on the other hand, they find significant differences in student characteristics and outcomes. The typical school attended by public housing students has higher poverty rates and lower average performance on standardized exams than the schools attended by others. These school differences, however, fail to fully explain the performance disparities: the authors find that students living in public housing score lower, on average, on standardized tests than their schoolmates living elsewhere -- even though they attend the same school. These results point to a need for more nuanced analyses of policies and practices in schools, as well as the outside-of-school factors that shape educational success, to identify and address the needs of students in public housing.

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From Front Yards to School Yards: Linking Housing Policy and School Reform (2009)

Amy Ellen Schwartz, Leanna Stiefel and Abigail Conover Carlton
IESP Working Paper #09-07

Housing and education share strong ties in the United States. This relationship is shaped, in large part, by mobility. Students move to new schools, homes and neighborhoods as a result of planned and unplanned family relocations. Taxpayers move from one school district to another in a nation where school quality is closely tied to the district in which a family resides. Teachers weigh factors such as location, pay, and long-term career opportunities as they decide where to work and when to move within or between school districts.

Despite the strong relationship between housing and education, policies that recognize and support this relationship are relatively rare. This paper explores the mechanisms by which housing and education are related. The authors focus particular attention on disadvantaged students in urban areas, as these students often face a unique set of challenges that set them apart from their more advantaged and/or non-urban counterparts. First, they explore the ways in which a child's housing unit, his neighborhood, and the political economy of public schools might shape his educational outcome. Then the authors turn to a discussion of the implications of these mechanisms for education and housing policy. Herein, they highlight recent efforts to strengthen the ties between education and housing policy and discuss how the lessons learned from these efforts might be brought to bear as policymakers consider new education and housing initiatives.

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Public Housing and Public Schools: How Do Students Living in NYC Public Housing Fare in School? (2008)

Institue for Education and Social Policy & The Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy

This report examines the school performance of children living in NYCHA housing and finds that children living in NYCHA housing perform less well on standardized math and reading tests than other students, even after controlling for the characteristics of the individual students and the schools they attend.  

 

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