- A new study by the University of Southern California sociologist Ann Owens, published in the American Sociological Review, finds school segregation has risen with income inequality, creating a cycle of unequal access to educational opportunities.
- In the report's overview, Owens notes "rising income inequality provided high-income households more resources, and parents used these resources to purchase housing in particular neighborhoods, with residential decisions structured, in part, by school district boundaries."
- The report also revealed more income segregation exists in geographic areas that encompass more school districts, with larger inequity between districts.
In many places, the quality of schools is directly tied to the income tax revenue from families in the feeder neighborhoods. As the income gap continues to grow in this country, so do the disparities that exist between schools in an area.
One glaring example of the disparity that exists between districts is Los Angeles, where a reported 6.7% of students in the Beverly Hills Unified District qualified for free or reduced lunch while 75.6% of students in the Los Angeles Unified District did. School systems have targeted the problem of income as well as racial segregation in different ways, but in many cases, lawsuits and court orders have been filed to force changes.
New York's New School University recently unveiled a school and neighborhood segregation mapping project. Their study found that many New York City schools aren’t as diverse as the neighborhoods around them, proving that gentrification doesn’t equate to more racially and economically-mixed schools. It also found middle-class families living in neighborhoods zoned for high-poverty schools are more likely to send their children to charter schools or special programs.