Authors: Patrick Wolf
April 1, 2004
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
In this paper, the authors consider the history and causes of the so-called "Black-White Test Score Gap" and the possible role of residential assignment to public schools in producing, magnifying, and perpetuating the Gap. Parental school choice is discussed as an alternative to residential assignment and evaluated based on the promise it may hold to redress some of the causes, and thereby shrink the size, of the Black-White Test Score Gap. The research to date suggests that school choice policies may move African American educational achievement closer to an approximate level of equality of educational opportunity than the standard policies of educational decision-makers who have been yoked to traditional practices of assignment to public schools by residence.
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