Cities

Spending, Size, and Grade Span in K-8 Schools

Spending, Size, and Grade Span in K-8 Schools
Education Finance and Policy, 4(1): 60-88

Rubenstein, R. & Schwartz, A.E., Stiefel, L., Zabel, J.
01/01/2009

Reorganizing primary school grade spans is a tractable and relatively inexpensive school reform. However, assessing the effects of reorganization requires also examining other organizational changes that may accompany grade span reforms. Using data on New York City public schools from 1996 to 2002 and exploiting within-school variations, we examine relationships among grade span, spending, and size. We find that school grade span is associated with differences in school size, class size, and grade size, though generally not with spending and other resources. In addition, we find class size and grade size differences in the same grade level at schools with different configurations, suggesting that school grade span affects not only school size but also class size and grade size. We find few relationships, though, between grade span and school-level performance, pointing to the need to augment these analyses with pupil-level data. We conclude with implications for research and practice.

The Neighborhood Effects of Concentrated Foreclosures

The Neighborhood Effects of Concentrated Foreclosures
Journal of Housing Economics, 17(4): 306-319

Ellen, I.G., Schuetz, J. & Been, V.
04/01/2008

As the national mortgage crisis has worsened, an increasing number of communities are facing declining housing prices and high rates of foreclosure. Central to the call for government intervention in this crisis is the claim that foreclosures not only hurt those who are losing their homes to foreclosure, but also harm neighbors by reducing the value of nearby properties and in turn, reducing local governments’ tax bases. The extent to which foreclosures do in fact drive down neighboring property values has become a crucial question for policy-makers. In this paper, we use a unique dataset on property sales and foreclosure filings in New York City from 2000 to 2005 to identify the effects of foreclosure starts on housing prices in the surrounding neighborhood. Regression results suggest that above some threshold, proximity to properties in foreclosure is associated with lower sales prices. The magnitude of the price discount increases with the number of properties in foreclosure, but not in a linear relationship.

Immigration and Urban Schools: The Dynamics of Demographic Change in the Nation's Largest School District

Immigration and Urban Schools: The Dynamics of Demographic Change in the Nation's Largest School District
Education and Urban Society 41(3):  295-316.

O'Regan, K. & Ellen, I.G., Conger, D.
03/01/2008

The authors use a rich data set on New York City public elementary schools to explore how changes in immigrant representation have played out at the school level, providing a set of stylistic facts about the magnitude and nature of demographic changes in urban schools. They find that while the city experienced an overall increase in its immigrant representation over the 5 years studied, its elementary schools did not. Although the average school experienced little change during this period, a significant minority of schools saw sizable shifts. The change does not mirror the White flight and 'tipping' associated with desegregation but rather suggests a tendency to stabilize, with declines in immigrant enrollments concentrated in schools with larger immigrant populations at the outset. The authors also find that changes in the immigrant shares influence the composition of the school's students, and that overall school demographic changes do not mirror grade-level changes within schools.

Do Economically Integrated Neighborhoods Have Economically Integrated Schools?

Do Economically Integrated Neighborhoods Have Economically Integrated Schools?
Howard Wial, Ha; Wolman and Margery Austin Turner, Eds, Urban and Regional Policy and it's Effects. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, pp 191-205.

Ingrid Ellen, Amy Allen Schwartz, Leanna Stiefel
01/01/2008

The goal of this book, the first in a series, is to bring policymakers, practitioners, and scholars up to speed on the state of knowledge on various aspects of urban and regional policy. What do we know about the effectiveness of select policy approaches, reforms, or experiments on key social and economic problems facing cities, suburbs, and metropolitan areas? What can we say about what works, what doesn’t, and why? And what does this knowledge and experience imply for future policy questions?

The authors take a fresh look at several different issues (e.g., economic development, education, land use) and conceptualize how each should be thought of. Once the contributors have presented the essence of what is known, as well as the likely implications, they identify the knowledge gaps that need to be filled for the successful formulation and implementation of urban and regional policy.

Health and Disease in Global Cities: A Neglected Dimension of National Health Policy

Health and Disease in Global Cities: A Neglected Dimension of National Health Policy
Networked Disease: Emerging Infections in the Global City. Edited by Keil, R. and H. Ali. Oxford University Press,

Rodwin, V.G.
01/01/2008

A collection of writings by leading experts and newer researchers on the SARS outbreak and its relation to infectious disease management in progressively global and urban societies.

Pedestrian Environments, Walking Path Choice, and Transfer Penalties: Understanding Land-Use Impacts on Transit Travel

Pedestrian Environments, Walking Path Choice, and Transfer Penalties: Understanding Land-Use Impacts on Transit Travel
Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Vol. 35, pp. 461-479.

Guo, Z. & Ferreira Jr., J.
01/01/2008

This paper investigates the impact of pedestrian environments on walking behavior, and the related choice of travel path for transit riders. Activity logs from trip surveys combined with transit-route and land-use information are used to fit discrete-choice models of how riders choose among multiple paths to downtown destinations. The work illustrates (1) how the quality of pedestrian environments along transit egress paths affects transfers inside a transit system, and (2) how the impedance of transferring affects egress walking path choices. The use of GIS techniques for path-based spatial analysis is key to understanding the impact of pedestrian environments on walking behavior at the street level. The results show that desirable pedestrian environments encourage transit riders to choose paths that are ‘friendlier', even if they involve more walking after leaving transit. Policy implications for land-use planning and transit service planning are discussed.

Reversal of Fortunes: Low Income Neighborhoods in the 1990s

Reversal of Fortunes: Low Income Neighborhoods in the 1990s
Urban Studies, 45: 845-869.

O'Regan, K. & Ellen, I.G.
01/01/2008

This paper offers new empirical evidence about the prospects of lower-income, US urban neighbourhoods during the 1990s. Using the Neighborhood Change Database, which offers a balanced panel of census tracts with consistent boundaries from 1970 to 2000 for all metropolitan areas in the US, evidence is found of a significant shift in the fortunes of lower-income, urban neighbourhoods during the 1990s. There was a notable increase in the 1990s in the proportion of lower-income and poor neighbourhoods experiencing a gain in economic status. Secondly, in terms of geographical patterns, it is found that this upgrading occurred throughout the country, not just in selected regions or cities. Finally, it is found that the determinants of changes in lower-income, urban neighbourhoods shifted during the 1990s. In contrast to earlier decades, both the share of Blacks and the poverty rate were positively related to subsequent economic gain in these neighbourhoods during the 1990s.

Small Schools, Large Districts: Small School Reform and New York City’s Students

Small Schools, Large Districts: Small School Reform and New York City’s Students
Teachers College Record,

Iatarola, P. & Schwartz, A.E., Stiefel, L., Chellman, C.
01/01/2008

High school reform is currently at the top of the education policy making agenda after years of stagnant achievement and persistent racial and income test score gaps. Although a number of reforms offer some promise of improving U.S. high schools, small schools have emerged as the favored reform model, especially in urban areas, garnering substantial financial investments from both the private and public sectors. In the decade following 1993, the number of high schools in New York City nearly doubled, as new "small" schools opened and large high schools were reorganized into smaller learning communities. The promise of small schools to improve academic engagement, school culture, and, ultimately, student performance has drawn many supporters. However, educators, policy makers, and researchers have raised concerns about the unintended consequences of these new small schools and the possibility that students "left behind" in large, established high schools are incurring negative impacts.

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