Peer Review Questions
Answer each of the following questions about your partner’s essay draft. Please be honest and constructive. The biggest complaint students have about peer reviews are that their classmates are “too nice,” which isn’t helpful (ex. “Everything looks good!” or “I don’t see any problems.”). Do NOT type those kinds of responses—help your peer improve her/his writing by providing a helpful critique of her/his work. Type in the spaces provided. The text boxes will expand automatically as you type.
Answer all of the questions. No answer should say that you have no suggestions or that there is no room for improvement (there is always room for improvement).
Changing a Way of Life
What can be done to eliminate housing segregation and the impact it has on education? By being sent to a school in a neighborhood you live in based off zoning lines built by a school district, it is almost certain that those who live in low-income areas will go to schools that do not have the same resources as those living in high income areas. This is based on revenue brought in by the property taxes which in turn goes towards school funding. By creating laws for desegregation in schools as well as no zoning lines in districts, there can be large gains in desegregation of housing and education at the same time.
As housing segregation has been linked to educational segregation for a long time, it is just recently that the two have started working together on ways to help the situation and support those being discriminated against. Housing segregation doesn’t only effect the education of low-income African American families but also African American middle class families as well. With racially segregated neighborhoods the middle class families end up in the same school zoning lines as those low-income families, causing them to attend low performing schools. (Orfield 40) There are many suggestions to causes of educational segregation, one that most can agree on is that housing segregation plays a vital role.
Housing vouchers are one way that many people believe can improve housing segregation and the affects it has on education. James Rosenbaum, Nancy Fishman, Alison Brett, and Patricia Meaden are the authors of, “Can the Kerner Commission’s Housing Strategy Improve Employment, Education, and Social Integration for Low-Income Blacks” they discuss the benefits of a program known as The Gautreaux Assisted Housing Program. This program gives low-income black families, who live in public housing or are on a waitlist to get into public housing, the opportunity to benefit from a program in which these families would receive a voucher or certificate to be eligible for section 8 housing. It allows low-income families to get support on their rent in order to afford housing in the suburbs rather than in public housing for the same price. This would give these families the ability to move to majority white suburbs or sometimes in the city as well. This program gives these families access to areas that have “better labor markets, better schools, and better neighborhoods” (1522).
This program and option for integrating the housing market has benefitted many families over the years. Between 1976 and 1993 “over 4500 families have participated” (1522). This option shows benefits to desegregation of housing by moving low-income families to middle-income neighborhoods with support. The program did not use housing options in predominately black neighborhoods in order to help instead of harm the objective of housing integration (1523). This program helped come to the realization that it is possible to succeed at residential integration (1554). There is evidence that children that moved to the suburbs with their families with assistance from this program “were more likely to be in school, in college-track classes, in four-year colleges, employed, and employed in jobs with benefits and better pay”(1553) therefore proving beneficial to supporting the education of low-income families affected by housing segregation.
However, when taking a closer look at this option of housing integration, there are things that aren’t as beneficial, and could possibly harm more than help housing segregation. For instance, although families were able to mark a preference of moving to the suburbs or staying in the city, majority of times these preferences were not taken into consideration and families were offered whatever was available. Meaning that some families if they wanted better housing options were pushed into areas that they may not have been comfortable and if they wanted housing, really did not have a choice of saying no. Another downfall to this plan is that when moving families to the suburbs, although getting better housing, better education and better job opportunities, the lack of public transportation in the suburbs made it difficult for low-income families to travel (1554). Many families when living in the city used public transit but in the suburbs those options are limited and somewhat nonexistent. This caused more challenges for these families to get to and from work as well as getting groceries and other essential needs. Also, this option only allows for small numbers of families to receive help and does not reach the entirety of the housing segregation issue as well as the clear link between housing segregation and lack of education for those families.
The belief that one of these methods individually is going to fix an ongoing problem that has lasted for centuries seems outrageous, though combining multiple solutions together could prove more beneficial.
To start, all states should adopt or create some type of racial imbalance law. Laws such as these have played an integral role in multiple states and school districts in assuring that schools are racially balanced and not segregated. Massachusetts and Connecticut are just two states who already have this type of law in place. According to Philip Tegeler and Michael Hilton, the author of “Disrupting the Reciprocal Relationship Between Housing and School Segregation” in Massachusetts, anything more than 50% of nonwhite students is considered racially imbalanced, 30-50% nonwhite students would be racially balanced, and any school with less than 30% nonwhite students is racially isolated (Herbert 439). Similarly, recently in Connecticut this law proved to be beneficial for an urban school district when a nearby suburban school district decided to take more transfer students in order to comply with state laws. (Herbert 439)
District school zoning lines cause for majority of the blame when it comes to educational segregation due to the impact of housing segregation. By districts creating specific lines for specific schools it is almost certain that there will be some type of racial segregation. This can be corrected by diminishing the labels of racially identifiable schools, or in other words schools with significant poverty levels. This could be done by districts by school assignment options instead of zoning lines. In other words, instead of the school a student goes to being decided on where that student lives, the district would take all of the students enrolled in that district and “assign” them to a school and provide all students with the option of district transportation. According to Tegeler and Hilton, renters or homebuyers looking at schooling as a main reason for buying will have no need to “shop around” within the district because they will have the knowledge that all schools in that district are at similar levels academically (Herbert 438). That being said, not only will this option support the integration of diversity in education, it potentially has the opportunity to help with housing desegregation as well.
The differences expressed by myself and Rosenbaum, Fishman, Brett and Meaden is important because of the impact the different options would have on the true issue of housing and educational segregation. The housing voucher program, although it has proved beneficial for some low-income families, is too extreme and too costly to implement correctly even locally let alone nationally, to actually fix the problem.
By creating racially imbalanced laws and districts assigning schools instead of basing schools off location, can significantly impact both housing and education, which should ultimately be the goal across the country. The option of combining all three of these together could potentially be a compromise worth looking into because the significance of the problem calls for a hands on approach.
Overall, though combining housing vouchers with other options could help the situation, ultimately this is not a feasible solution alone to correct the effects that housing segregation has on education. This is something that has been attempted over and over to no real avail and it is time to look at other solutions to truly fix the equity of schools. By states creating laws to help hold districts accountable for desegregating schools, and school districts not creating boundaries and instead assigning students to schools, it will not only be beneficial to education but will have a positive impact on housing as well. Providing vital gains to the final goal of full desegregation in both housing and education.
Carter, Prudence, et al. “Housing Segregation Produces Unequal Schools.” Closing the Opportunity Gap: What America Must Do to Give Every Child an Even Chance, Illustrated, Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 40–60. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=564209&site=ehost-live.
Herbert, Christopher, et al. “Disrupting the Reciprocal Relationship Between Housing and School Segregation.” A Shared Future: Fostering Communities of Inclusion in an Era of Inequality, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018, pp. 220–25, www.jchs.harvard.edu/research/books/shared-future-fostering-communities-inclusion-era-inequality.
Rosenbaum, James, et al. “Can the Kerner Commission’s Housing Strategy Improve Employment, Education, and Social Integration for Low-Income Blacks.” Carolina Law Scholarship Repository, 1993, scholarship.law.unc.edu/nclr/vol71/iss5/8.
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