We are proud to announce six new research grants to support studies in our reducing inequality focus area. Approved at the Foundation’s March Board meeting, these awards will help build theory and empirical evidence on promising strategies for reducing inequality in the outcomes of young people ages 5-25 in the U.S.
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Research Grants on Reducing Inequality
The Intergenerational Impacts of Reparations on Youth Outcomes: Evidence from the Eastern Cherokees
What are the short- and long-term effects of cash reparations on recipients, their dependent children, and future generations?
Achyuta Adhvaryu, School of Global Policy & Strategy, University of California, San Diego; Alexander Fertig, University of Michigan; Huayu Xu, Peking University
Reparations are an historically rare but potentially powerful policy tool for compensating racial, ethnic, and Indigenous groups for historical injustices. In addition to having an immediate impact on a family’s economic standing, financial reparations can also improve the financial well-being of future generations by spurring investment in education and increasing asset ownership. This study examines a unique historical episode in which members of the Eastern Cherokee tribe were awarded financial restitution in 1905 after forced removal and relocation in the 1830s. A third of the approximately 90,000 individuals who applied were deemed eligible, and the average household received $372 ($10,830 in 2021 dollars). This study will estimate the immediate and long-term effects of these payments on economic and social outcomes for direct recipients and their children and grandchildren. It will also explore whether reparations increased self-identification as Native American. The team will use an instrumental variable approach to estimate the immediate and long-term effects of these payments on economic and social outcomes for direct recipients and their children and grandchildren. The study draws from two primary data sources: 1) digitized images of the original documents included in the 45,857 applications submitted to the reparations fund, and 2) a complete count U.S. Census data from 1900–1950. Ultimately, findings could shed light on the potential of reparations to mitigate the intergenerational effects of forced removal and relocation on the economic and social outcomes of Native Americans across generations.
CARPE DIEM (Courageous, Antiracist, and Reflective Parenting Efforts: Deepening Intentionality with Each Moment)
Does an online antiracist parenting intervention for White mothers decrease racial bias in young White children?
Gail Ferguson, Melissa Koenig, and Charisse Pickron, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota
Young White American children show higher levels of implicit bias against other racial groups than peers of color. A potential driver of this racial bias gap may be racial inequalities in parents’ communication about ethnicity and race. Another likely driver may be stagnated racial identity development, characterized by lack of engagement in antiracist thought or action. Given these factors, an antiracism intervention targeting the family system is a promising lever to disrupt racial biases as they emerge in early childhood. In this study, Ferguson and colleagues will conduct a longitudinal assessment of an innovative dual-component intervention for mothers of White children ages 5-8: Courageous, Antiracist, and Reflective Parenting Efforts: Deepening Intentionality with Each Moment (CARPE DIEM). Building on a pilot study that yielded promising evidence of positive behavioral change in antiracist learning and parenting among White mothers over one year, the team will use an experimental design to test the relative effectiveness of mothers’ communication about race and mothers’ racial identify development independently and in combination on both mothers’ racial identity and socialization outcomes and on children’s racial bias. If the team finds that the intervention is effective, the study will have demonstrated parental socialization mechanisms as a novel lever to reduce racial bias among White children.
Increasing Teacher Diversity, Supply, and Retention through Grow Your Own Programs
Are programs that recruit local teachers from underrepresented backgrounds an effective way to build and retain teacher diversity and serve students of color?
Matthew Kraft, Dept. of Education, Brown University; Danielle Edwards, Annenberg Institute at Brown University
Racial and socio-economic inequities in graduation rates and educational opportunities have lasting consequences for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. Studies have shown that exposure to teachers from similar ethnic and racial backgrounds can increase educational attainment. However, schools serving low-income students and Black and Latinx students have higher teacher turnover rates than high-income schools, and the teacher workforce is not representative of the student population. In this study, Kraft and Edwards will examine the efficacy of “Grow Your Own” programs, which increase the diversity of the teacher workforce by recruiting high school students, paraprofessionals, and community members from local communities, and by lowering barriers to entry to the profession through financial incentives and other supports. They will map the national landscape of Grow Your Own programs and evaluate the impact of existing Grow Your Own programs in Texas on teacher recruitment, retention, and effectiveness. To assess impact, the team will deploy quasi-experimental designs including regression discontinuity and difference-in-difference models. Findings may provide evidence on the value of a highly touted but little studied program with promise to increase the racial diversity of the teacher workforce and reduce racial educational inequalities.
Reducing Inequality Through Housing Policies: The Housing Choice Voucher Program and Its Effects on Academic Outcomes of Low-Income Students in Houston, Texas
Does the Housing Choice Voucher program lead to changes in neighborhood and school contexts for low-income families and improve educational outcomes for youth?
Anna Rhodes, Jeremy Fiel, Dept. of Sociology, William Marsh Rice University; Robert Bozick, Kinder Institute for Urban Research, William Marsh Rice University
Social contexts such as housing, neighborhoods, and schools are critical in shaping children’s educational experiences and outcomes. For low-income families, receiving a housing choice voucher that subsidizes the cost of rental housing in the private rental market can lead to changes in neighborhood and school contexts, residential stability, and household financial resources. In turn, these changes may reduce educational disparities between students from low-income families and their more affluent peers. The Housing Choice Voucher program, the largest low-income housing subsidy program in the U.S., provides vouchers to qualifying low-income families to rent housing in the private rental market. In theory, families may use these vouchers to move to neighborhoods with better resourced schools. Yet barriers like landlord discrimination and rental costs may prohibit families from making housing choices that might improve their children’s educational opportunities and outcomes. In partnership with the Houston Housing Authority, Rhodes and colleagues will examine whether and how voucher receipt improves academic outcomes for students from low-income families. Analyses will include intent-to-treat estimates of voucher effects as well as treatment-on-treated effects of using vouchers. Findings will inform HHA policy and practice to strategically address barriers encountered by voucher recipients and improve access to educational opportunities for low-income families and their children.
The Effects of Alternative Staffing Models for Instructing Students with Disabilities
What is the relative effectiveness of different classroom staffing models for improving academic outcomes for students with disabilities, with a particular focus on Black and Hispanic students?
Marcus Winters and Nathan Jones, College of Education & Human Development, Boston University
Despite federal pressure in recent years to better serve students with disabilities, an achievement gap persists between students with disabilities and their peers, with repercussions on education and employment outcomes into adulthood. To meet federal standards that schools provide access to students with disabilities to the general curricula and instruction that meets their academic and behavioral needs, schools deploy a range of instructional models that vary in their costs and staffing demands. Yet the field has little evidence on which model is most effective for improving outcomes for students with disabilities. In partnership with the Indiana Department of Education, Winters and Jones will use longitudinal administrative data from the state to estimate effects of different classroom staffing models on academic outcomes for students with disabilities, including the effect on students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. They will compare outcomes for students in a general education classroom with a single teacher, a special education specific classroom, a single teacher classroom with paraprofessional support, and a co-taught classroom. Ultimately, findings may have implications for staffing and budgeting decisions in schools, and for policymakers’ understanding of which models of service delivery best improve outcomes for students with disabilities.
Interrogating Successive School Discipline Reforms as Levers for Promoting Racial Equity
Do state laws limiting or prohibiting school expulsion reduce schools’ use of expulsion and racial disparities in expulsion rates?
Katherine Zinsser, Jessica Shaw, and C. Ryne Estabrook, Dept. of Psychology, University of Illinois, Chicago
Research has demonstrated a persistent link between exclusionary school discipline and later involvement in the justice system. It has also shown that students of color, boys, and students with disabilities are disproportionately likely to be suspended or expelled from school. Under increasing pressure from federal agencies, many states have implemented reforms to address racial disproportionality in school discipline. However, state policies often focus on decreasing the overall rate of exclusionary discipline without an intentional focus on mitigating racial, gender, or disability inequities. Illinois implemented laws that limited the use of exclusionary discipline for K-12 students in 2016, and for birth-to-5 programs in 2018. Using multiphase latent growth curve models, Zinsser and colleagues will examine the impact of these successive reforms on racial inequalities in school suspensions and expulsions in grades K-12. They will also collect qualitative data via interviews and site visits to explore why the reforms had a greater impact on reducing racial inequalities in some districts compared to others. Findings could shed light on how state laws aimed at reducing exclusion and their implementation at the district level may reduce racial disciplinary inequalities.