School boundaries carry on ‘legacy of redlining’

Racist housing maps from the 1930s and ‘40s are still having an impact by way of today’s segregated school attendance zones, according to a new study from the Urban Institute.

The “Dividing Lines” study finds that school attendance areas often align with “redlining” maps from the Home Owners’ Loan Corp., a New Deal home-buying program. Black neighborhoods were marked in red on the maps to indicate they were not a good risk for buyers and lenders.

“This evidence suggests that many of the racially unequal school boundaries in our data are direct vestiges of our cities’ historic roots of explicit racism, not just an artifact of recent individual household choices,” write study authors Tomas Monarrez and Carina Chien.

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