UNC study finds first-grade reading suffers in segregated schools
Posted July 29
Chapel Hill, N.C. — A new study out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has found that black students in segregated public schools make smaller gains in reading than their peers in more integrated settings.
UNC's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute released its findings, which involve nearly 4,000 first-graders in public schools nationwide, Tuesday.
The study points to the schools as the problem. It cites fewer available resources, higher teacher turnover and more novice teachers as three potential reasons for the gap.
"It may be that segregated schools affect African-American students, in particular, because these schools have fewer resources to devote to high-quality instruction, experience more teacher turnover and are more likely to employ novice teachers," said Kirsten Kainz, director of statistics for the Frank Porter Graham Institute. "In addition, the communities surrounding segregated schools may not have as many supports for reading development outside of the school day and year."
Local measures, however, could help bring more integrated schools, such as care in residential planning – including the location and concentration of low-income housing – and in drawing attendance lines for schools.
“Many communities have direct local control over processes that can ensure they don’t inadvertently promote segregation," Kainz said.