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The Republic and HBO's The Wire PHIL-255-01: Inequality in Education

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discrimination in education

inequality and education

inequality and schools

race and education

race and schools

urban and education

urban and schools

rural and education

rural and schools

baltimore and education

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educational equity

urban school reform


Articles in Popular & Scholarly Periodicals

Articles in Scholarly Journals



Lleras, Christy.  “Race, Racial Concentration, and the Dynamics of Educational Inequality Across Urban and Suburban Schools”. American Educational Research Journal 45, no. 4 (2008): 886–912.  DOI 10.3102/0002831208316323.
This study uses national data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study to model educational inequality as a feedback process among course placement, student engagement, and academic achievement, separately for students in schools with high and low percentages of African American students. Results find strong effects of placement, engagement, and performance on one another over time and across both school types. However, the results also show that racial segregation is detrimental to the overall learning process for students between 8th and 10th grade. The author concludes that White and African American students in predominantly Black, particularly urban, schools are significantly disadvantaged at each point of the learning process compared to students in other school types.
Leventhal-Weiner, Rachel, and Michael Wallace.  Racial differences in high school dropout rates: An analysis of U.S. metropolitan areas. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility  29, no. 4 (2011): 393-413.   doi:10.1016/j.rssm.2010.12.007.
In this paper, we explore the differences in high school dropout rates among white, black and Hispanic students in 275 U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in 2000. Our analysis focuses on the impact of community and labor market conditions, in hopes of providing insight into the relationship between place and educational outcomes. The explanatory power of our regression models is mixed across racial groups, performing best for whites and Hispanics. Our results also indicate that community factors - most importantly, same-race adult educational attainment in the community, teenage birth rates and residential stability - have a greater impact on dropout rates than labor market factors. Our results suggest that as education reform moves toward broad-based solutions to improve student outcomes including dropout rates, it will be increasingly important to address the structural origins of inequality outside of schools.
Johnson, O.  Still separate, still unequal: The relation of segregation in neighborhoods and schools to education inequality. The Journal of Negro Education  83, no. 3 (2014): 199-215,425.


Ambiguity remains as to whether contemporary levels of racial segregation in and outside of the U.S. South are a serious problem. This article subsequently examines the math and science test-scores of 3rd-graders that participated in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study. Test-score performances are estimated using multilevel statistical methods for the national sample, and for children in low and high minority schools within and outside of the South. The analysis reveals lower test-scores for students in high minority schools, especially for African Americans and southern children in high minority private schools. In addition, a neighborhood's economic segregation appears to have a stronger association with test-scores than its racial segregation. The article concludes with a discussion of how school and neighborhood segregation reproduces racial stratification.


Logan, John R., Elisabeta Minca, and Sinem Adar. “The Geography of Inequality: Why Separate Means Unequal in American Public Schools”. Sociology of Education 85, no. 3 ( 2012): 287–301.  DOI: 1 0. 1 1 77/00380407 1 1 43 1 588.


Roscigno, Vincent J., Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, and Martha Crowley.  Education and the Inequalities of Place”. Social Forces 84, no. 4 (2006): 2121–45.
Students living in inner city and rural areas of the United States exhibit lower educational achievement and a higher likelihood of dropping out of high school than do their suburban counterparts. Educational research and policy has tended to neglect these inequalities or, at best, focus on one type but not the other. In this article, we integrate literatures on spatial stratification and educational outcomes, and offer a framework in which resources influential for achievement/attainment are viewed as embedded within, and varying across, inner city, rural and suburban places. We draw from the National Educational Longitudinal Survey and the Common Core of Data, and employ hierarchical linear and hierarchical logistic modeling techniques to test our arguments. Results reveal inner city and rural disadvantages in both family and school resources. These resource inequalities translate into important educational investments at both family and school levels, and help explain deficits in attainment and standardized achievement. We conclude by discussing the implications of our approach and findings for analyses of educational stratification specifically and spatial patterning of inequality more generally.

Quality in Education