‘Synonymization’ threat and the implications for the funding of school districts with relatively high populations of black students

Nicola A. Alexander, Sung Tae Jang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Education stakeholders have used descriptors of poverty and race as if they were synonymous. This ‘synonymization’ of identities is particularly evident for black and poor students. We define ‘synonymization’ as a policy threat that emerges when policymakers conflate two marginalized identities, resulting in policies that ostensibly, but not actually, address biased structures. From this construct, we posit two claims: (1) largely poor districts are not largely black districts and (2) dollars appropriated to largely poor districts are not equivalent to dollars appropriated to largely black districts. Our analysis supports those claims. We also found that higher correlations between portion poor and portion black do not lessen the negative impact of synonymization for the collective as one would have expected. While funding and poverty were significantly associated, there was no significant association between funding and portions of black students even when poverty and black student profile were significantly linked.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-173
Number of pages23
JournalRace Ethnicity and Education
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 4 2019

Keywords

  • Race
  • poverty
  • school finance
  • ‘synonymization’

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