Housing & Community Development

District Effectiveness: A Study of Investment Strategies in New York City Public Schools and Districts

District Effectiveness: A Study of Investment Strategies in New York City Public Schools and Districts
Educational Policy, Vol. 18, No. 3, 491-512

Iatarola, P. & Fruchter, N.
07/01/2004

Educational reform over the past two decades has focused primarily on schools as the critical units of change, often ignoring the role of districts and their effect on schools' performance. Although national reform efforts such as the recently reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (the No Child Left Behind Act), are directed primarily at schools, local school districts are responsible for a number of functions critical to schooling effectiveness (e.g., hiring, collective bargaining, curriculum development, assessment, fiscal operations, and ancillary functions). Refocusing attention on districts and their effect on schools, this study found differences between high-and low performing community school districts, or administrative subunits, within the NewYork City school system in terms of educational goals, instructional focus, leadership development, teacher recruitment and retention, and professional development.

A Comparison of Ground-Level Air Quality Data with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Monitoring Stations Data in South Bronx, New York

A Comparison of Ground-Level Air Quality Data with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Monitoring Stations Data in South Bronx, New York
Atmospheric Environment, Vol. 38, pp. 5295-5304.

Restrepo, C., Zimmerman, R., Thurston, G., Clemente, J., Gorczynski, J., Zhong, M., Blaustin, M. & Chen, L.C.
01/01/2004

The South Bronx is a low-income, minority community in New York City. It has one of the highest asthma rates in
the country, which community residents feel is related to poor air quality. Community residents also feel that the air quality data provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) through its network
of monitoring stations do not reflect the poor quality of the air they breathe. This is due to the fact that these
monitoring stations are located 15m above ground. In the year 2001 this project collected air quality data at three
locations in the study area. They were collected close to ground-level at a height of 4m by a mobile laboratory placed in a van as part of the South Bronx Environmental Health and Policy Study. This paper compares data collected by the project with data from DEC's monitoring stations in Bronx County during the same periods. The goal of the comparison is to gain a better understanding of differences in measured air quality concentrations at these different heights. Although there is good agreement in the data among DEC stations there are some important differences between ground-level measurements and DEC data. For PM2.5 the measured concentrations by the van were similar to those recorded by DEC stations. In the case of ozone, the concentrations recorded at ground level were similar or lower than those recorded by DEC stations. For NO2, however, the concentrations recorded at ground level were over twice as high as those recorded by DEC. In the case of SO2, ground level measurements were substantially higher in August but very similar in the other two periods. CO concentrations measured at ground-level tend to be 60-90% higher than those recorded by DEC monitoring stations. Despite these differences, van measurements of SO2 and CO concentrations were well below EPA standards.

Academic Achievement Among Formerly Homeless Adolescents and Their Continuously Housed Peers

Academic Achievement Among Formerly Homeless Adolescents and Their Continuously Housed Peers
Journal of School Psychology, Vol. 42, No. 3, pp. 179-199.

Rafferty, Y., Shinn, M. & Weitzman, B.
01/01/2004

This study examined the school experiences and academic achievement of 46 adolescents in families who experienced homelessness and 87 permanently housed adolescents whose families received public assistance. Measures taken after the homeless students were rehoused showed that both groups valued school highly and were similar in cognitive abilities assessed with the similarities subtest of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children—Revised (WISC-R). Formerly homeless students had more school mobility, more grade retention, and worse school experiences by mother report and lower plans for post secondary education by self-report. Both groups scored poorly on standardized tests of academic achievement. Homelessness was associated with further declines in achievement during the period of maximal residential disruption, but did not have effects 5 years later.

City Taxes, City Spending: Essays in Honor of Dick Netzer

City Taxes, City Spending: Essays in Honor of Dick Netzer
Northampton, Mass: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.,

Schwartz, A.E.
01/01/2004

In a festschrift to Netzer a public finance economist well known for his research on state and local taxation, urban public services, and nonprofit organizations eight chapters apply microeconomics to problems facing urban areas and use statistical analysis to gain insight into practical solutions. The essays look at alternative methods of financing urban government, such as a land value tax and the impact of sales and income taxes on property taxation; at government expenditures, including housing subsidies; and at subsidies to nonprofit arts groups as well as the role of the nonprofit sector in providing K-12 education. Of interest to the fields of public finance, urban economics, and public administration.

Estimating the Effects of September 11th and Other Forms of Violence on the Mental Health and Social Development of New York City’s Youth: A Matter of Context

Estimating the Effects of September 11th and Other Forms of Violence on the Mental Health and Social Development of New York City’s Youth: A Matter of Context
Applied Developmental Science, Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 111-129.

Aber, J.L., E. Gershoff, A. Ware & J. Kotler.
01/01/2004

This longitudinal study examines the effects of exposure to the terrorist attack of September 11th as well as exposure to other forms of community violence on change in the mental health and social attitudes of youths in New York City. Three quarters of the youths reported some form of direct exposure to the events of September 11th, and 80% reported a lot of exposure to at least 1 form of media coverage of September 11th; these rates were comparable with the citywide survey of public school students in New York City conducted by the New York City Department of Education. Results of a structural equation model that included controls for previous levels of mental health and social attitudes, as well as a range of demographic factors, indicated that direct exposure and family exposure to the event did not predict change in any mental health outcomes, but did predict change in levels of social mistrust; media exposure did predict posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. In contrast, victimization by other forms of violence was strongly associated with change in or current levels of all of the examined mental health symptoms, whereas witnessing other forms of violence was associated with change in or levels of 3 of 4 mental health symptoms and with increased hostile attribution bias and levels of social mistrust. Implications of the results for applied developmental and public mental health strategies in response to traumatic events are discussed.

Expenditure Assignment Under Indonesia's Decentralization: A Review of Progress and Issues for the Future

Expenditure Assignment Under Indonesia's Decentralization: A Review of Progress and Issues for the Future
in J. Alm and J. Martinez, Reforming Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations and the Rebuilding of Indonesia. Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar,

Smoke, P.
01/01/2004

Indonesia is currently facing some severe challenges, both in political affairs and in economic management. One of these challenges is the recently enacted decentralization program, now well underway, which promises to have some wide-ranging consequences. This edited volume presents original papers, written by a select group of widely recognized and distinguished scholars, that take a hard, objective look at the many effects of decentralization on economic and political issues in Indonesia. There are many questions about this program: how will it be implemented, is there capacity at the local level to implement its reforms, is there sufficient local political accountability to make it work, and how will the decentralization affect the broader program of economic growth and stabilization? Topics covered include: the historical and political dimensions of decentralization, its macroeconomic effects, its effects on poverty alleviation, the assignment of expenditure and revenue functions across levels of government, the design of transfers, the role of natural resource taxation and the effects of local government borrowing. An authoritative, comprehensive collection, Reforming Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations and the Rebuilding of Indonesia will be of interest to economists and policy makers as well as students of public finance, development, and Asian economics.

Immigrants and Education: Evidence from New York City

Immigrants and Education: Evidence from New York City
in Milano Review, Howard Berliner, ed., V.4, pp. 7-16.

Schwartz, A.E. & Gershberg, A.I.
01/01/2004

In many urban areas in the United States, immigrant children and the children of immigrants are transforming local schools. Immigrant children face - and pose - significant challenges to these schools, challenges that are in many ways greater than those of earlier waves of immigrants. There is, however, relatively little existing research investigating the ways urban public school systems treat and are influenced by the increasing numbers of immigrant children. Using an extraordinarily rich, student-level panel data set covering all 850 of New York City's elementary and middle schools for 5 years, linked to institutional information on the schools themselves, we study the experience of one large urban school system. Given the extraordinary size and diversity of the immigrant population in New York City, we can consider separately subgroups of immigrants whose experiences in and impacts on urban schools systems are likely to differ greatly. This is particularly important for drawing lessons for other urban areas that face flows of immigrants from specific countries of origin.

Our project contains a cross-sectional and a time series component. To start, we examine the characteristics of the schools and districts attended by New York City's immigrant children, including the extent to which the teachers and resources of different groups of immigrant children differ from each other and from the typical native-born student. We examine the degree to which they are segregated within the city's districts and schools - and investigate the extent to which segregation differs between elementary and middle schools. This is particularly interesting because of the strong link between elementary school choice and residential location and the weaker link (and greater degree of choice) at the middle school level.

We will also focus on the "receiving" schools from the perspective of the native-born students, particularly minority and poorer students. While the presence of recent immigrants brings some supplemental federal funding, and additional resources are typically directed at students with Limited English Proficiency, the net resource impact on the schools and their students is poorly understood.

In the second component of our project (exploiting the time-series nature of our data) we will examine changes in school composition over time. Do specific characteristics drive patterns of change? At the school level, we will assess whether and how the presence of native-born students changes in response to changes in the share of students who are immigrants, children of immigrants, and those with limited English proficiency. By tracking the movement of children from one school to another, we can investigate the characteristics of the origin and destination schools (such as population composition and school resources) that appear to affect mobility and identify groups most sensitive to these factors. Are urban school districts in high immigrant areas likely to suffer from more middle-class flight? To what extent does the response depend upon the socioeconomic characteristics of the immigrants - their race, ethnicity, language proficiency, and/or country of origin? This second piece moves beyond a cross-sectional assessment of the resource allocations and impacts associated with immigration, to suggest how these impacts will change over time for other urban districts receiving immigrant children and, perhaps, the issues and problems that policymakers to consider in formulation policy responses.

New York City

New York City
Encyclopedia of Homelessness. Berkshire Publishing,

Weitzman, B.C. & Fischer, S.N.
01/01/2004

At any given moment, about 3 million American women, men, and children are homeless. And another 5 million Americans spend over 50% of their incomes on housing, meaning that one missed paycheck, one health crisis, or one unpaid utility bill can push them out the door into homelessness. Homelessness is one of the major social problems and personal and family tragedies of the contemporary world. No community, city, or nation is immune and the lack of affordable housing and a decline in secure, well-paying jobs means that the problem will only get worse. The Encyclopedia of Homelessness is the first systematic effort to organize and summarize what we know about this complex topic that impacts not only the homeless but all of society. The Encyclopedia focuses on the current situation in the United States with a comparative sampling of homelessness around the world.

Opening Doors and Building Capacity: Employing a Community-Based Approach to Surveying

Opening Doors and Building Capacity: Employing a Community-Based Approach to Surveying
Journal of Urban Health. 2004;81:291-300.

Kaplan, S.A., Dillman, K.N., Calman, N.S. & Billings, J.
01/01/2004

Although many community-based initiatives employ community residents to undertake door-to-door surveys as a form of community mobilization or for purposes of needs assessment or evaluation, very little has been published on the strengths and weaknesses of this approach. This article discusses our experience in undertaking such a survey in collaboration with a coalition of community-based organizations (CBOs) in the South Bronx, New York. Although resource constraints limited the already-strained capacity of the CBOs to provide supervision, the CBOs and community surveyors helped us gain access to neighborhood buildings and to individuals who might otherwise have been inaccessible. The survey process also contributed to the coalition's community outreach efforts and helped to link the CBO leadership and staff more closely to the coalition and its mission. Many of the surveyors enhanced their knowledge and skills in ways that have since benefited them or the coalition directly. The participating CBOs continue to be deeply engaged in the coalition's work, and many of the surveyors are active as community health advocates and have taken leadership roles within the coalition.

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