Relocation Programs, Opportunities to Learn, and the Complications of Conversion

Relocation Programs, Opportunities to Learn, and the Complications of Conversion

Issue/Topic: At-Risk (incl. Dropout Prevention); Choice of Schools; Equity
Author(s): Johnson, Odis
Publication: Review of Educational Research
Published On: 5/15/2012

Since 1976, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has relocated low-income children of color from public housing communities to less racially and economically isolated neighborhoods in an effort to improve their developmental opportunities. Since HUD began moving public housing residents out of segregated high-rise communities through the Gautreaux Assisted Housing Program, the number of such programs has grown. Are such programs a good investment?

To provide the first comprehensive evaluation summary of seven relocation programs and the reasons why six of them failed to replicate the educational successes of the inaugural Gautreaux program. (The Gautreux program was the first program to demonstrate success in linking educational trajectories to differences in environmental opportunity over the course of time.)


Policy Implications/Recommendations:

Research Design:
Meta-analysis of a final pool of 27 studies of seven different programs. To be selected, studies had to compare post-move educational experience (a) to their prior educational performance, (b) to children that did not move, (c) to those that moved to categorically different environments.

Assessed educational results that followed implementation of seven different programs enacted in 12 cities. Program affected 31,000 low-income youths and their families.

Year data is from:


Data Collection and Analysis:
The majority of evaluations studied were quantitative and reported either mean differences between treatment groups (e.g., movers and stayers) or differences between educational measures taken at baseline and some years after children had relocated. Several evaluations were qualitative or mixed-method and, with the use of interview or ethnographic data, provide greater detail about the former and current educational experiences of a smaller group of youths.

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