CCSA released a report, Charters and Communities: Charter schools’ association with neighborhood change in Los Angeles and Oakland. which explores the connection between changing communities and the presence of charter schools. The full technical report is available here. This page is designed to summarize the findings of that report and allow viewers to interact with the cities explored.
What is community change?
Community change can occur in two ways, either upgrading or displacing. Upgrading occurs when the people of a community improve the conditions of their neighborhood. Displacement occurs when new residents move into a neighborhood and rises costs of living force long time residents to leave.
To find out if a community was experiencing change, we tried to see if an area was:
Appreciating: A tract is appreciating if the median home values of that tract rose more in the period than the school board district’s average increase.
Educating: A tract is educating if the average educational attainment of that tract rose more in the period than the school board district’s average increase.
Whitening: A tract is whitening if its proportion of non-Hispanic white residents increased more in the period than the school board district’s average increase.
Latinizing: A tract is Latinizing if its proportion of Latinx residents increased more in the period than the school board district’s average increase.
These variables taken together define ‘community change’ for this report
Upgrading: A tract is upgrading if it is both appreciating and educating but not whitening.
Displacing: A tract is displacing if it is appreciating, educating, and whitening.
Two Theories of Relationship
There are two theories on how charter schools might be related to community change.
1. Are charter schools encouraging upgrading?
Charter schools can help long time residents of a neighborhood improve their community and are designed to serve the students who already live there.
2. Are charter schools encouraging displacement?
Charter schools are started by middle-class white parents who want to move into cities without sending their children to schools’ with many students of color.
“Charter schools may be a part of a benevolent urban revitalization agenda aimed at improving blighted communities, or they may be a conscious tactic on the part of middle-class White newcomers… to separate their children from the ‘threat’ of bad schools and the poor and minority students who fill them.”
Linking charter school revitalization and gentrification: a socio-spatial analysis of three cities.