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K-12 Education

We are committed to generating and synthesizing research on key civil rights and equal opportunity policies that have been neglected or overlooked.

Well before the passing of the "Leave No Child Behind" Act of 2002, which renewed the nation's interest in K-12 education, The Civil Rights Project had been focused on critical issues affecting this country's elementary and secondary students. CRP believes that equal educational opportunity is a necessary prerequisite to equal educational outcomes. Further, CRP believes that all students benefit from ethnically diverse educational experiences. For the past several years, a main focus of our research has been to demonstrate concrete educational benefits derived from attending diverse elementary and secondary schools. Research in the area of K-12 Education has been extensive with the hopes of having a broad impact nation-wide.

Our current research interests related to K-12 education include:


Recent K-12 Research


Research Item Indiana’s Choice Scholarship: Participation & Impact on Achievement
This is 1 of 4 studies that were presented on March 5, 2018 on Capitol Hill at a briefing, "Bringing Civil Rights Research to Bear on Voucher Programs: Are the Promises Realized?" The Indiana Choice Scholarship Program (ICSP), launched in 2011, offers an opportunity to study how a large-scale K-12 private school tuition voucher program works and to analyze the results it has produced in its first few years. This four-year evaluation of the Indiana program is one of a few recent studies that finds statistically significant negative effects on students’ mathematics achievement of using a voucher to switch from a public to a private school in the first years after a choice program’s launch. These findings are the same for students of all races or ethnicities, whether African American, Latino, white, or multiracial. Our research also indicates that voucher students begin to recoup their academic losses in their third and fourth years of attending a private school. Students transitioning to a private school may need time to acclimate to what are usually more rigorous academic standards and higher expectations for homework and schoolwork.
Research Item Washington, D.C.'s Voucher Program: Civil Rights Implications
This is 1 of 4 working papers presented on March 5, 2018 at Capitol Hill briefing, "Bringing Civil Rights Research to Bear on Voucher Programs: Are the Promises Realized?" The District of Columbia has the nation’s only school voucher program established and funded by the federal government. In thinking about the federal initiative in an arena that is a top priority of the Trump Administration it is well to assess this effort over the last 15 years. Clearly the advocates had very high hopes that it would be a major solution to the weak educational results for children in schools that were overwhelmingly poor and nonwhite. Unlike most of the voucher programs this one mandated evaluations, but the results of the evaluations the federal government has commissioned have been seriously disappointing. This paper examines the goals of the program, the hopes of its authors and supporters, and the skeptical predictions of its opponents, and what actually happened.
Research Item Private Schools in American Education: A Small Sector Still Lagging in Diversity
This is one of 4 working papers presented on March 5, 2018 in a briefing on Capitol Hill, "Bringing Civil Rights Research to Bear on Voucher Programs: Are the Promises Realized?" This report explores how the size and share of private education has changed in the U.S. over two decades, from 1995 to 2015-16 (the most recent federal data), along with how the students are divided among different kinds of private schools: secular, Catholic, and non-Catholic religious schools. It also examines the racial composition of these schools, providing key data for evaluating the civil rights dimension of private schooling and voucher policies.
Research Item Private School Vouchers: Legal Challenges and Civil Rights Protections
This is 1 of 4 working papers presented on March 5, 2018 at a briefing on Capitol Hill, "Bringing Civil Rights Research to Bear on Voucher Programs: Are the Promises Realized?" In this report, the authors detail the evolution of voucher policies, from their roots in the Jim Crow Era to their modern-day applications, including the rise of “neovoucher” programs; the past legal challenges to vouchers; factors that may influence the legal justifications of vouchers, including the quality of education for students of color in voucher programs; key policy issues that arise from this shift toward greater public funding of private schools; and conclude with a set of recommendations focused on civil rights protections.
Research Item Charters as a Driver of Resegregation
Building upon existing research that finds charter schools tend to be more segregated than traditional public schools, this report describes how charter schools also contribute to resegregation in traditional public schools. The authors explore the direct and indirect ways in which this occurs through a case study of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) in North Carolina.
Research Item White Growth, Persistent Segregation: Could Gentrification Become Integration?
This report zooms in on the areas in Washington, DC, that experienced substantial gentrification since 2000, and looks more closely at the school age population and composition of schools. The report shows a continuing pattern of intense segregation of students of color even in gentrifying areas, but it also illustrates some of the possibilities, including: 1) schools in the area are not losing enrollment, as often happens when families of color are replaced by white families with fewer children and less interest in public schools; 2) DC schools in gentrifying areas gained significantly in enrollment between 2000 and 2014, with African American enrollment up 72%; 3) White enrollment, though still small, increased more than tenfold, and the Hispanic enrollment tripled.
Research Item New Jersey's Segregated Schools: Trends and Paths Forward
The report updates earlier research published by the Civil Rights Project in 2013. That report detailed troubling racial and economic segregation trends and patterns from 1989 – 2010. The latest report includes new data from 2010-2015. The research updates public school enrollment trends and details segregation in the state’s schools by race and income. It also includes information about segregation in private schools, examines student enrollment trends in charter schools and their potential to increase segregation, and includes new research on segregation in pre-k schools. A new analysis looks at the plight of students who are English Language Learners, finding many attend schools triply segregated by race, income and language.
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