Education Redlining in Boston Public Schools

If your chance of attending a high quality public school depends on where you live, chances are your school district policies are redlining your education. A new study from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) finds that only 20 percent of Boston Public School students are enrolled in high quality schools, and access to those schools is unequally distributed across the city's student assignment zones.

According to the report, twice as many students on the west side of the city have access to high quality schools as students on the east side. Students of color, in particular, are shortchanged. White students stand a 1 in 3 chance of being able to enroll in a high quality school, while Black students have just a 1 in 10 chance and Hispanic students 1 in 5.

The report comes as city education officials are considering new student assignment plans, supposedly to make access to high quality schools more equitable. However, the report analyzes each of the plans currently on the table and finds that inequitable access still persists no matter how the city slices and dices the school school zoning. The problem with inequitable access to high quality schools lies not in school assignment plans or a lack of school choice but in a lack of resources and supports that allow all schools to be high quality.

In April 2012, the Schott Foundation for Public Education released the report "A Rotting Apple," which examined access to educational opportunities, including high quality schools, in New York City. It came to the same conclusions as the HGSE team: some students, disproportionately students of color and students in low-income communities, are denied access to quality resources and opportunities asab a result of the education policies in their city, an outcome which the Schott Foundation refers to as education redlining.

In July, the OTL Campaign hosted a webinar to show advocates how they can use data to identify redlining in their own school districts and organize to fight for every child's right to a fair and substantive opportunity to learn. Visit the webinar recap page here to watch a video of the webinar and download useful tools and resources.

Learn more about the HGSE report here, and doownload it here.

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