Abstract for: Schools and the Legacy of Redlining

Much evidence has shown that the long-standing practice of redlining, despite being outlawed in 1968, nevertheless has had lingering effects on current conditions. Those include housing quality and value itself, but also the quality of schools in those school attendance zones that overlap formerly redlined areas. This paper focused on the lingering effects of redlining on schools, reviewing how schools in formerly redlined areas strongly tend toward failure. It examined the systemic structure of this situation, positing that it is not the quality of housing, per se, that has led to failing schools. It is the lack of administrative effort, in many of those formerly-redlined attendance zones, to enforce good academic and behavioral standards and to support high effort from faculty. Policy experiments in a stylized model simulated improved faculty effort alone, improved academic and behavioral conditions alone, and a combination of the two, showed that significant improvements in school quality and in student performance are possible, especially with the combined approach.