there is conflicting evidence about the effect of minority concentration and of

There is conflicting evidence about the effect of

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there is conflicting evidence about the effect of minority concentration and of school rankings on individual success among African American students. This raises questions about the experience of Black students in schools-why are these schools not serving Black students well?-and about segregation as well. Other studies have found a negative relationship between segregation of 92 The Journal of Negro Education This content downloaded from 134.84.192.101 on Mon, 18 Mar 2019 02:50:19 UTC All use subject to
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minority students and minority students' achievement (Davis, 1986), and numerous studies report a strong relationship between "school climate" and Black students' success (e.g., Beady & Beady, 1993; Bempechat, 1998; Comer, Haynes, & Hamilton-Lee, 1987-88; Druian, 1986). There is every reason to believe that school resources and climate matter, yet the data lack clear indicators of these factors. If nothing else, what is clear from these data is that we need more information about the well-being of Black students, and about the role of segregation and school quality in Black students' educational experience. There are other school-level factors that we have not measured. Other researchers have documented the influence of factors, such as class size and teaching methods (Murnane & Levy, 1996), teacher qualifications (Ferguson, 1991), and parental involvement, on the achievement of minority students. Here, we do not know class size. We do not measure school size. And, the school poverty measure may be imperfect. We focus on free and reduced-price lunch recipients as opposed to those who are eligible. We do not have parental income or measures of percentage of families with incomes below the poverty line. There may be a relationship, moreover, between early childhood and achievement, suggesting that early childhood development may mediate the potentially harmful effects of poverty. Such a finding would be consistent with Beckford and Cooley's (1993) findings that increasing the availability of preschool and kindergarten opportunities for African American students had the strongest effect on the achievement gap between these students and their White peers. Similarly Koroly et al. (1998) documented the positive effects on student achievement of expanding preschool and kindergarten programs in poor, urban schools. Ability to measure those variables would accentuate the need to focus on early childhood educational opportunities, as well as educational opportunities in later grades. Perhaps most revealing about these data is what they do not tell us. A large portion of the racial gap in test scores remains unexplained by school poverty, attendance, mobility, and other variables we considered. Clearly, there are variables missing from this discussion. Our conclusions about the large remaining race effects and the failure of school poverty to explain racial gaps in test scores must be tempered by the recognition that there may be omitted variable biases in our results.
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