Do Federally Assisted Households Have Access to High Performing Public Schools?
Could help, but doesn’t
A new report from the Poverty Race and Research Action Council analyzes elementary schools nearest to households receiving four different forms of housing assistance in each of the 50 states and in the 100 largest metropolitan areas. The report compares these schools to those accessible to comparable households, paying particular attention to whether housing voucher-holders are reaching neighborhoods with higher-performing schools than are other low-income households in the same geographic area. Assisted households as a whole are more likely to live near low-performing schools than other households, yet housing voucher-holders do not generally live near higher-performing schools than households receiving other forms of housing assistance. While housing voucher-holders typically live near schools that are higher-performing than those nearest to public housing tenants, they also typically live near schools that are slightly lower-performing than those nearest to households living in Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Project-based Section 8 developments, and lower-performing than those nearest to other poor households. The authors conclude that housing assistance has the potential to break the cycle of poverty through breaking the link between poor households and low-performing schools, but doesn’t. More work is necessary to uncover how housing assistance can better help low-income households reach neighborhoods with higher-performing schools.
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