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How Does Minority Political Representation Affect School District Administration and Student Outcomes?

Published Date February 09, 2021
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Abstract

We employ a regression discontinuity design leveraging close school board elections to investigate how the racial and ethnic composition of California school boards affects school district administration and student achievement. We find some evidence that increases in minority representation lead to cumulative achievement gains of approximately 0.1 standard deviations among minority students by the sixth post-election year. These gains do not come at the expense of white students' academic performance, which also appears to improve. Turning to the policy mechanisms that may explain these effects, we find that an increase in minority representation leads to greater capital funding and a larger proportion of district principals who are non-white. We find no significant effects of minority representation on school segregation, the reclassification of English language learners, or teacher staffing.

How Does Minority Political Representation Affect School District Administration and Student Outcomes?” (w/ Vladimir Kogan and Zachary Peskowitz), American Journal of Political Science, 65(3): 699-716, 2021