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Seminar Series: Odis Johnson, Associate Professor, African American Studies

Great Equalizers or Conduits of Inequality? A Counterfactual Analysis of Year-Round and 9-Month Schooling within Neighborhood Contexts
When Apr 28, 2014
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM
Where 0124B Cole Student Activities Building
Contact Name
Contact Phone 301-405-6403
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About the Talk

Persistent racial, SES and residential disparities in test-scores suggest schools fall short in serving as society’s great equalizers. Racial inequalities in achievement in particular have been shown in research to grow mostly while children are in school rather than prior to school enrollment or during the summer recess. However, these studies rarely consider the qualities of children’s neighborhoods as contributors to educational stratification, or use counterfactual modeling to strengthen causal inferences. In this study, I model neighborhood-based achievement growth using ECLS-K data within a novel counterfactual framework in which children attend year-round or 9-month schools. Nearest-neighbor stratified matching strategies are used in creating single and multiple-match files, as well as HLM for the detection of mean differences and modeling of nested data.  In contrast to previous investigations, I find that schooling is related to less racial inequality through the equalizing function of year-round schooling, most notably for African Americans. The pattern of relationships for neighborhood influences on test-score trajectories found in this analysis suggests that schools are essential to the delivery of neighborhood influences on test performances. The study concludes that schools may be greater equalizers according to race than previously thought, but simultaneously serve as conduits of neighborhood social disorganization’s more impressive stratifying effects.

About the Speaker

Odis Johnson

Dr. Odis Johnson, Jr., is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of African American Studies in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Johnson offers courses in program evaluation, policy analysis and urban / community sociology and has produced numerous peer-reviewed articles in the most selective scientific journals, book chapters, and externally funded grants. With funding from the National Science Foundation, American Educational Research Association, and the Spencer Foundation, Dr. Johnson has explored neighborhood influences on racial differences in children’s achievement, and linkages between neighborhood role modeling opportunities and adolescents’ masculine dispositions toward education. His evaluation of HUD urban relocation programs earned him the 2013 Outstanding Research Award from the American Educational Research Association, the field’s leading professional research organization. Dr. Johnson serves on the editorial boards of the Review of Educational Research and the Urban Review, and frequently advises governmental agencies and school systems in the evaluation of social programs, collection and analysis of data, and budget allocations.

Visit Professor Johnson's webpage

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