Tracking School Integration in Oakland
To what degree are schools already integrated in Oakland? To answer that, we look at common segregation measures, how they apply to Oakland, how they have changed over time, and their possible consequences.
Two Guiding Questions
#1 How many schools resemble Oakland's average poverty rate?
The "evenness" or "dissimilarity" measure looks at how poverty rates at individual schools differ from the overall percentage of poverty in the district. From an equity lens, we should make sure each school serves the same number of low-income students.
#2 Is each racial group exposed to similar rates of poverty?
The "isolation" or "exposure" measure reveals how much students of color are disproportionately placed in high-poverty schools. White students and Black students, from an equity lens, should interact with the same number of low-income students.
Some critics may argue that a school district like Oakland with over 70% students in poverty can't meaningfully address school integration because the student body is not diverse enough.
More racial and socioeconomic diversity throughout the district could of course be beneficial to integration efforts, but there is still plenty of opportunities to reduce segregation now, potentially spurring integration efforts in the future.
Whether a school is within 15% of the average percentage of students in poverty at the district level for assess whether it contributes to this measure. Districts from New York to San Francisco have used similar guidance in their desegregation efforts and also falls in line with previous recommendations in California.
33% of schools (39 total) are within the 15% of the district average of 76% low-income/English Learner/foster students in Oakland. With a large majority of schools falling either below or above 15% of the district average, the opportunity to reduce concentrations of poverty is high in Oakland.
How does Oakland compare to other cities in California when it comes to this evenness measure?
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