Poverty

Disentangling the Racial Test Score Gap: Probing the Evidence in a Large Urban School District

Disentangling the Racial Test Score Gap: Probing the Evidence in a Large Urban School District
Journal of Policy Analysis & Management, Winter 2007, Vol. 26 Issue 1, p7-30, 24p.

Stiefel, L., Schwartz, A.E. & Ellen, I.G.
01/01/2007

We examine the size and distribution of the gap in test scores across races within New York City public schools and the factors that explain these gaps. While gaps are partially explained by differences in student characteristics, such as poverty, differences in schools attended are also important. At the same time, substantial within-school gaps remain and are only partly explained by differences in academic preparation across students from different race groups. Controlling for differences in classrooms attended explains little of the remaining gap, suggesting little role for within-school inequities in resources. There is some evidence that school characteristics matter. Race gaps are negatively correlated with school size-implying small schools may be helpful. In addition, the trade-off between the size and experience of the teaching staff in urban schools may carry unintended consequences for within-school race gaps. © 2006 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

From Districts to Schools: The Distribution of Resources across Schools in Big City School Districts

From Districts to Schools: The Distribution of Resources across Schools in Big City School Districts
Economics of Education Review, 26: 532-545.

Rubenstein, R. & Schwartz, A.E., Stiefel, L.
01/01/2007

This paper explores the determinants of resource allocation across schools in large districts and examines options for improving resource distribution patterns. Previous research on intra-district allocations consistently reveals resource disparities across schools within districts, particularly in the distribution of teachers. While overall expenditures are sometimes related to the characteristics of students in schools, the ratio of teachers per pupil is consistently larger in high-poverty, high-minority and low-performing schools. These teachers, though, generally have lower experience and education levels - and consequently, lower salaries - as compared to teachers in more advantaged schools. We explore these patterns in New York City,  Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio by estimating de facto expenditure equations relating resource measures to school and student characteristics. Consistent with previous research, we find schools that have higher percentages
of poor pupils receive more money and have more teachers per pupil, but the teachers tend to be less educated and less well paid, with a particularly consistent pattern in New York City schools. The paper concludes with policy options for changing intradistrict resource distributions in order to promote more efficient, more equitable or more effective use of resources. These options include allocating dollars rather than teacher positions to schools, providing teacher pay differentials in hard-to-staff schools and subjects, and adapting current district-based funding formulas to the school (and student) level.

Race, Segregation, and Physicians' Participation in Medicaid

Race, Segregation, and Physicians' Participation in Medicaid
The Milbank Quarterly Vol. 84, Iss. 2, June

Greene, J., Blustein, J. & Weitzman, B.C.
06/01/2006

Many studies have explored the extent to which physicians’ characteristics and Medicaid program factors influence physicians’ decisions to accept Medicaid patients. In this article, we turn to patient race/ethnicity and residential segregation as potential influences. Using the 2000/2001 Community Tracking Study and other sources we show that physicians are significantly less likely to participate in Medicaid in areas where the poor are nonwhite and in areas that are racially segregated. Surprisingly—and contrary to the prevailing Medicaid participation theory—we find no link between poverty segregation and Medicaid participation when controlling for these racial factors. Accordingly, this study contributes to an accumulating body of circumstantial evidence that patient race influences physicians’ choices, which in turn may contribute to racial disparities in access to health care.

Reliability and Validity of the Spanish Versions of the Crisis in Family Systems - Revised

Reliability and Validity of the Spanish Versions of the Crisis in Family Systems - Revised
Psychological Reports, Feb 2006, Vol. 98 Issue 1, p123-132, 10p.

Berry, C., Quinn, K.A., Portillo, N. & Shalowitz, M.
02/01/2006

Increasing the representation of Spanish-speaking study participants requires development and dissemination of reliable and valid translated scales. In the current study the construct validity was assessed of the Spanish version of the Crisis in Family Systems-Revised, a measure of contemporary life stressors, with a convenience sample of 377 parents interviewed in a study of childhood asthma, although over half of the respondents did not have children with asthma. Most respondents were foreign-born women between 20 to 60 years old (M = 35, SD = 7). 52% had not completed high school or its equivalent, and 55% reported a household income of $15,000 or less. For a subsample of 25 respondents test-retest reliability was .86 over 2 wk. Reporting more life stressors was associated with greater depressive symptomatology, poorer physical and mental health function, and lower household income. These relationships support the construct validity of the test in Spanish. This study provided strong evidence that this version is a valid and reliable measure of life stressors for a Spanish-speaking population living in the United States.

Effects of Anti-Poverty and Employment Policies on Middle-Childhood School Performance: Do They Vary by Race/Ethnicity, and If So, Why?

Effects of Anti-Poverty and Employment Policies on Middle-Childhood School Performance: Do They Vary by Race/Ethnicity, and If So, Why?
In A.C. Huston & M. Ripke (Eds.), Middle childhood: Contexts of development. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Yoshikawa, H., Morris, P.A., Gennetian, L.A., Roy, A.L., Gassman-Pines, A. & Godfrey, E.B..
01/01/2006

This chapter considers whether effects of antipoverty policy on children's school performance differ by ethnicity, and if so, why. We explore several hypotheses: those that derive from human capital theory, theories about family structure and family process, and person-environment fit theory. A major finding is that, in addition to the role of human capital, we find evidence to support the hypothesis that person-environment fit matters. That is, the fit between policy contexts and personal values and goals, such as motivation to pursue one's own education, appears to play a role in explaining differences by race and ethnicity in effects of welfare and employment policies on children.

Financing Pro-poor Governance in Africa

Financing Pro-poor Governance in Africa
in Karen Millet, Dele Olowu and Robert Cameron (eds), Local Governance and Poverty Reduction in Africa (Tunis: Joint Africa Institute of the African Development Bank)

Smoke, P.
01/01/2006

Defines key lessons on financing pro-poor governance based on cases from Latin America, Asia and Africa (Colombia, Indonesia, Kenya and Uganda). The starting point for pro-poor fiscal decentralisation is that its major goals should be improved governance and performance, specifically, higher efficiency and equity in service delivery, economic development, and poverty alleviation. The enabling environment for fiscal decentralisation involves first the functions and the resources that might normally be allocated to local governments. Second, it can include alternative models and mechanisms to finance local governments, including intergovernmental transfers, markets, capital and donor financing.

Micro-Insurance: The Next Revolution?

Micro-Insurance: The Next Revolution?
In Understanding Poverty, edited by Abhijit Banerjee, Roland Benabou, and Dilip Mookherjee. Oxford University Press, 2006.

Morduch, J.
01/01/2006

This essay focuses on the design of insurance products for poor customers. Several promising innovations are described: credit life insurance, health insurance partnerships, and weather insurance. Each was created to serve populations that were previously unserved, and workable institutional solutions are emerging. The next step must be to shift from the question of what creates workable institutions to the question of how to refine designs to best serve low-income populations. In doing so, current approaches must be reassessed in order to most improve clients’ lives and to avoid doing unintended harm.

School Efficiency and Student Sub-groups: Is a Good School Good for Everyone?

School Efficiency and Student Sub-groups: Is a Good School Good for Everyone?
Peabody Journal of Education

Schwartz, A, Kim, D.Y., Stiefel, L. & Zabel, J.
01/01/2006

State and federal accountability reforms are putting considerable pressure on schools to increase the achievement of historically low-performing groups of students and to close test score gaps. In this article, we exploit the differences among the large number of elementary schools in New York City to examine how much schools vary in the efficiency of the education they provide to subgroups. In addition, we examine the extent to which observable school characteristics can account for the variation that exists. We find that New York City elementary schools vary in how well they educate poor students compared to nonpoor students and Asian and White students compared to Black and Hispanic students. The disparities in school efficiency measures between boys and girls are lower than for the other subgroups. There is no conclusive evidence about which school resources and characteristics are associated with more or less efficient education across all subgroups.

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