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Dr. Peskowitz “How Does Racial Representation Affect School District Outcomes?”
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Baldwin Hall, Pinnacle Room
Join us as we hear Dr. Zachary Peskowitz, Assistant Professor at Emory University, share his research findings on the topic of racial representation and school district outcomes.
Abstract: We employ a regression discontinuity design leveraging school board election outcomes to investigate how the racial composition of California school boards affects school district administration and student achievement. Motivated by theoretical models of collective decisionmaking, we separately estimate the effect of increasing minority membership by a single win, an election swinging the board to majority-minority, and a diversity-increasing candidate victory on educational policy and outcomes. While the consequences of an additional minority representative and a diversity-increasing representative are modest, we find evidence that when school boards have sufficiently high minority representation electing an additional minority board member increases average student achievement and attainment. In our sample, these effects are concentrated among Latino students and these gains do not come at the expense of adverse performance among other student groups. Turning to the policy mechanisms underlying these effects, we find that majority-minority boards increase the probability that capital bond referenda are proposed and passed, but do not find evidence that racial representation affects the racial composition of district employees, school-level segregation, or English-language learner reclassification rates.
More on the speaker: Zachary Peskowitz completed his PhD in political economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2012. Prior to joining the faculty at Emory in 2015, Peskowitz held a position as an assistant professor at Ohio State University. Peskowitz’s primary research focus is American politics, with a particular interest in how elections affect policy outcomes. His articles have been published in the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, and other journals. His interests in the realm of public administration focus on issues of representation and governance (focusing on school boards and performance), and policy evaluation (primarily in educational policymaking).