Can Universal Scholarship Programs Reduce Inequality? Lessons from Kalamazoo Dr. Michelle Miller-Adams • Visiting Scholar, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research • Associate Professor, Political Science, Grand Valley State University March 9, 2011
Research Question and Rationale • Do universal, place-based scholarship programs, such as the Kalamazoo Promise, reduce unequal opportunities and unequal outcomes for students in high-poverty public school districts? Why of interest? • Proliferation of Promise-type programs nationally • 22 created to date, only 7 of which are universal • Interest in effective strategies for reducing achievement gaps by income, race • Debate over universal v. targeted social programs
Universal v. Targeted Social Programs • Some social programs are directed toward those with demonstrated financial need • TANF, food stamps, Head Start, Pell grants • Others are universal • K-12 education, Medicare, Social Security • Higher levels of political and public support for universal programs
Hypothesis • Conventional wisdom is that universal programs are designed first for economic development impact, with school effects secondary. • Targeted scholarship programs seek to raise student achievement and reward performance. • I argue that universal programs are more effective than targeted programs in achieving BOTH economic development and educational goals. • Challenge: identifying pathways and dynamics through which school district and student performance are improved by universal scholarship.
The Kalamazoo Promise: A New Model • Place-based -- Kalamazoo Public Schools • Universal -- every graduate is eligible • Minimum 4-year residency & enrollment • Funded by anonymous private donors • To continue in perpetuity • Covers 65-100% of tuition and fees at any in-state, public post-secondary institution for KPS graduates • Can be applied to any credit-bearing program • Each student has 10 years to use scholarship
Kalamazoo Public Schools Demographics • Racial composition • 46% African-American • 39% White • 10% Hispanic • 5% other • Socioeconomic makeup • 69% of KPS students are classified as economically disadvantaged • 86% of African-American students • 46% of White students • Disparities within district (across 17 elementary schools) • Low-income percentage ranges from 97% to 25% • Non-white percentage ranges from 96% to 28%
A tool for reducing inequality? • Distinction between inequality of opportunities and inequality of outcomes • Kalamazoo Promise works to equalize both: • Universal college access • Structural & cultural school change • Alignment of community resources • Skocpol (1991) – “targeting within universalism”
Equalizing opportunity • Reduction in financial barriers to college attendance • Results (classes of 2006-2010) • 2,000 students have received scholarships • (84% of those eligible) • 1,100 are enrolled this semester • $25 million spent • Use of Kalamazoo Promise by race closely matches demographics of eligibility for the program. • Use of Kalamazoo Promise by low-income students closely matches demographics of school district.
Usage by Socioeconomic Status*(data as of spring 2010) * Free & Reduced meal status is underreported for all categories because only most recent five years of data is available and high-school FARM rates are lower than total district rates.
Unequal outcomes • Low-income students more likely to attend 2-year rather than 4-year institutions. • Positive outcomes vary across type of institution • Students at 4-year institutions: 85% • Students at 2-year institutions: 47% • Low-income students are struggling once in college. • KP users who qualified for Free & Reduced Meals while at KPS account for: • 35% of students in good standing • 70% of students on probation • 67% of students whose scholarships have been suspended
Non-financial barriers • K-12 achievement gap by income and race • Lack of college preparedness • Academic, social, emotional • Absence of role models / support • Cultural: sense that “college isn’t for me” • Importance of defining college broadly • Indirect mechanisms of support for college access/success
Equalizing outcomes • Cultural:efforts to ensure that every student is “college-ready” • Elementary school: full-day Kindergarten; early literacy emphasis • Middle school: new block schedule, career awareness and college preparation • High school: college readiness course, expanded AP offerings, credit recovery, weighted grades • Structural: socioeconomic integration of schools • Supported by enrollment increase & new school construction • Will it extend to elementary schools? Neighborhoods?
Cultural Change • Increased Advanced Placement enrollment (2007-10) • # of AP courses taken: + 174% • # of students enrolled + 130% • Economically disadvantaged -- 63 to 259 students • African-American -- 53 to 211 students • Hispanic -- 8 to 68 students • Three years of rising NAEP scores, black-white gap reduced • Black KPS third-graders outperformed state average in 2009 • 82% passed reading, 89% passed math • Significant increases in Iowa Test of Basic Skills (4/10) for first-graders (first group to have all-day Kindergarten)
Structural Change • Reversal of long-term enrollment decline • 20% enrollment growth since 2005 • Enrollment increase the result of: • Increased entry and decreased exit rates • Stabilization of ethnic/racial distribution • Low-income population has risen: 62% to 70% • Increased resources for school district • Per-pupil funding structure • Support for bond issues (regional) • Opening of new schools (first in 4 decades) • Redistricting to achieve better socioeconomic balance
Initial Impact – Redistricting% of students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch
Questions about redistricting • Does socioeconomic school integration literature have anything to say about middle and high school? • Strategies for integrating elementary schools • Wake County (Raleigh-Durham) schools
Comments, questions, or suggestions: http://email@example.comKalamazoo Promise Research Web Sitehttp://www.upjohninstitute.orgThe Promise of Kalamazoo bloghttp://thepromiseofkalamazoo.org