Housing & Community Development

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.

Promoting Early Childhood Development through Comprehensive Community Initiatives

Promoting Early Childhood Development through Comprehensive Community Initiatives
Children's Services: Social Policy, Research, and Practice, 1(4), pp. 1-24.

Aber, J.L., L. Berlin & J. Brooks-Gunn.
01/01/2004

Recent advances in developmental psychology, social services, and social policy have converged to highlight 3 issues: (a) the importance of early development; (b) the importance of the contexts, or "ecology," of early development, especially with respect to the ill effects of early childhood poverty; and (c) the promise of intervention programs for low-income children, families, and communities, including comprehensive community initiatives (CCIs). CCIs, however, generally have not focused on young children. In this article, we synthesize developmental science and current understanding of CCIs to suggest a number of ways for CCIs to increase their emphasis on early development. We begin with a review of developmental research that illustrates the effects of community characteristics on children's development. We then review the goals, strategies, and principles of CCIs. These reviews illustrate that despite overlapping emphases, developmental science and CCIs could be linked more generatively. We propose ways in which CCIs can be geared more specifically toward promoting early child development. Finally, we suggest strategies for evaluating these types of initiatives.

Social Networks and Homelessness Among Women Heads of Household

Social Networks and Homelessness Among Women Heads of Household
American Journal of Community Psychology , 33:1-2, pp. 7-20.

Toohey, Siobhan, M., Shinn, M. & Weitzman, B.C.
01/01/2004

To examine possible bidirectional relationships between homelessness and deficient social networks, we compared the networks of 251 mothers before, and approximately 5 years after, their families entered shelters with networks of 291 consistently housed poor mothers. At Time 1, more women on the verge of homelessness than housed women reported that they had mothers, grandmothers, friends, and relatives but fewer believed these network members were housing resources. At Time 2, after homeless women were rehoused, these network differences between consistently housed and formerly homeless women had largely disappeared. Contrary to prior research findings, formerly homeless mothers did not report smaller networks, more children or fewer partners. However, formerly homeless women did report fewer positive functions. Because of city policies, homeless mothers were frequently rehoused far from network members.

Teen Pregnancy and Urban Youth: Competing Truths, Complacency, and Perceptions of the Problem

Teen Pregnancy and Urban Youth: Competing Truths, Complacency, and Perceptions of the Problem
Journal of Adolescent Health , 34:5, pp.366-375.

Gallup-Black, A. & Weitzman, B.C.
01/01/2004

Purpose: To compare and contrast perceptions of community leaders, adults, and youth about the extent of the teen pregnancy problem in five American cities: Baltimore, Detroit, Oakland, Philadelphia, and Richmond.

Conclusions: Although few leaders see teen pregnancy as a pressing problem, adults remain deeply concerned, and youth indicate that the problem is prevalent and accepted.

The Role of Cities in Providing Housing Assistance: A New York Perspective

The Role of Cities in Providing Housing Assistance: A New York Perspective
In Amy Ellen Schwartz, ed., City Taxes, City Spending: Essays in Honor of Dick Netzer. Northampton, Mass: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.,

Ellen, I.G., Schill, M.H., Schwartz, A.E. & Voicu, I.
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.

Housing Production Subsidies and Neighborhood Revitalization: New York City’s Ten Year Capital Plan for Housing

Housing Production Subsidies and Neighborhood Revitalization: New York City’s Ten Year Capital Plan for Housing
Economic Policy Review, June 2003, pages 71-85.

Ellen, I.G., Schill, M.H., Schwartz, A.E. & Voicu, I.
06/01/2003

A perennial question in housing policy concerns the form that housing assistance should take. Although some argue that housing assistance should be thought of as a form of income support and advocate direct cash grants to needy households, others favor earmarked assistance—but they differ over whether subsidies should be given to the recipients as vouchers or to developers as production subsidies. The appropriate composition of housing assistance has recently taken on particular import. In 2000, Congress created the Millennial Housing Commission and gave it the task of evaluating the “effectiveness and efficiency” of methods to promote housing through the private sector. As part of its mandate, the commission is examining changes to existing programs as well as the creation of new production programs to increase affordable housing. This paper reexamines the debate over the appropriate form of housing assistance.

Local Government Finance and the Economics of Property Tax Exemption

Local Government Finance and the Economics of Property Tax Exemption
State Tax Notes, June 23, pp. 1053-1069.

Netzer, D.
06/01/2003

Looks at the role of the property tax exemption for charities in local government finance. If services produced by nonprofits are largely exported from a jurisdiction, then requiring full property taxes or payments in lieu of taxes is a way of exporting local tax burdens.

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