Date Thesis Awarded

4-2018

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Public Policy

Advisor

Paul Manna

Committee Members

Salvatore Saporito

Peter McHenry

Abstract

Given the direct influence of socioeconomic diversity in schools on student achievement, it is important to try to understand the causes of rising income segregation across schools. My paper assesses whether school attendance zone gerrymandering contributes to income segregation across public schools within 129 of the largest school districts in the United States. I compare income segregation levels between actual school attendance zones and hypothetical school attendance zones that would exist in the absence of gerrymandering to determine if current zone shapes contribute to segregation. I also test for correlations between income diversity within school attendance zones and the shapes of attendance zones as quantified by spatial compactness measures commonly found in the political gerrymandering literature. I find that on average, irregularly-shaped, gerrymandered school attendance zones seem to better integrate, rather than further segregate students of different socioeconomic backgrounds.


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