Welcome to the PRRAC Update! Every other Thursday, PRRAC sends out a brief digest of news, recent publications, and other points of interest related to our work in housing, education, and health. We welcome feedback and encourage you to forward to others. To join the PRRAC email list, click here.
PRRAC resources library: Some of the input from our recent readers' survey of Poverty & Race (our bimonthly print publication) asked if the "resources section" and other content from P&R could be made available on-line between issues, rather than just posted every two months. We agree - and we have set up a separate page of resource listings, the "PRRAC Resources Library," which will post resources as soon as we receive them. You can also access substantial content relating to PRRAC's own research and advocacy work on our "'Current Projects" pages at www.prrac.org.
Integration is back on the map: Speaking of websites, our colleagues at "One Nation Indivisible" have outdone themselves with their new website - www.onenationindivisible.org - check it out! (One Nation Indivisible is a documentation and organizing project that PRRAC partners with, supporting "racially, culturally, economically and linguistically integrated schools and communities").
Other news and resources
The impact of zoning on education: The Brookings Institution issued a report today confirming a basic element of structural inequality in the United States - that exclusionary zoning excludes low income children of color from access to high quality education, and helps to horde educational resources for higher income, predominantly white children (Editor's note: I was initially surprised that Brookings chose to re-study this well-established principle, but reviewing the findings, I am reminded that is it always a good practice to "over-document" discriminatory structures, in the face of increasingly brazen denials by the proponents of "colorblindness"...). Some of the highlights of the report include:
"Nationwide, the average low-income student attends a school that scores at the 42nd percentile on state exams, while the average middle/high-income student attends a school that scores at the 61st percentile on state exams. This school test-score gap is even wider between black and Latino students and white students."
"Northeastern metro areas with relatively high levels of economic segregation exhibit the highest school test-score gaps between low-income students and other students."
"Eliminating exclusionary zoning in a metro area would, by reducing its housing cost gap, lower its school test-score gap by an estimated 4 to 7 percentiles - a significant share of the observed gap between schools serving the average low-income versus middle/higher-income student."
Read the full Brookings report here. A similar report, just issued by the Schott Foundation for Public Education, documents the impacts of segregation within the New York City Public Schools, finding that "[d]istricts with higher poverty rates have fewer experienced and highly educated teachers. Low-income students are more likely to be enrolled in poor performing schools and less likely to be tested for eligibility for gifted and talented programs." Read the Schott report here.
From Eric Tars at the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty: "The DOJ and US Interagency Council on Homelessness have released a new report on criminalization of homelessness....The report can be downloaded at (link). Of particular note for human rights advocates is a line on p. 8 that states 'Laws imposing criminal penalties for engaging in necessary life activities when there are no other public options that exist have been found to violate the Eighth Amendment.... In addition to violating domestic law, criminalization measures may also violate international human rights law, specifically the Convention Against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.' So far as I'm aware, this is the first time a domestic policy report has referenced our international treaty obligations, let alone saying our domestic policies might actually violate them!" An overview of NLCHP's recent report on criminalization of poverty is included in our recent forum on criminalization of poverty in Poverty & Race.
Reminder - the National Conference on School Diversity will be held May 17, at Georgetown University Law Center. An all-star cast of speakers! Register today at www.school-diversity.org. Also, if you need a room, tomorrow (Friday) is the last day to reserve a hotel room at the conference rate.
Poverty & Race Research Action Council