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Knowledge From the Field

Vibrant Neighborhoods, Successful Schools: What the Federal Government Can Do to Foster Both

Published: July 2009

Publisher(s): Urban Institute

Author(s): Turner, Margery Austin; Alan Berube

Funder(s): George Gund Foundation, Heinz Endowments, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Metropolitan Leadership Council

View Report (24 pages; 160KB; PDF)

Vibrant Neighborhoods, Successful Schools: What the Federal Government Can Do to Foster Both

Area of focus: Low-Performing Schools


Schools in communities where low-cost housing is clustered often suffer from insufficient funding, obsolete facilities, and overextended teachers struggling to serve concentrations of needy students. This report outlines strategies for the federal departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to coordinate education and housing policies to create mixed-income neighborhoods with good schools, attract quality educators, reduce student turnover, and improve health, nutrition, and school readiness.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

= The federal government should actively encourage local efforts to link housing and neighborhood revitalization investments with investments in school quality.

= The federal government should create strong incentives for local jurisdictions to expand affordable housing opportunities in communities served by high-performing schools with very low rates of poverty.

= The federal government should encourage local information gathering and experimentation on strategies for helping poor children attend high-performing schools.

= The federal government should build on initiatives that support schools serving high-poverty and distressed neighborhoods.

= The federal government should target its support for the creation of successful new schools to neighborhoods of poverty and distress.

= The federal government should target additional resources to help reduce unwanted moves among low-income families to enable children to stay in the same schools.

= HUD should target its investments in “healthy homes” and lead hazard control to developments and authorities that serve significant numbers of families with young children who might benefit the most academically from such improvements.

= Federal leadership should promote the spread of higher-quality school meals and better overall eating habits to students in low-income communities.

Geographic Focus: National

Subjects/Keywords: Low-performing schools; educational standards; low-income housing; at-risk youth, government subsidized housing

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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