Achievement Gains and Social Inequality: An Analysis of Brazilian School Districts, 2007-2017
An enduring unresolved issue in education is whether schools and school districts are more effective in raising student achievement when students are “segregated” into schools and classrooms that are more homogeneous socially and academically or when students learn in schools and classrooms that are more heterogeneous (Trevino et al, 2016; Gamoran and Nystrand, 1994); Willms, 2010)
In an important sense, the degree of social class or racial segregation is not an educational decision, but the structural product of the social, economic and political history of nations and national sub-regions. Countries characterized by greater social class (income) inequality are more likely to cluster their students into schools according to social class (Chiu and Khoo, 2005). Yet, even in more socially equal and unequal countries, there is considerable variation in school social class segregation (OECD, PISA, 2013, Volume 2, Part 5).
Social class or ethnic/racial segregation in and of itself may have socio-political implications for societies. Nevertheless, the more important educational issue may be whether such segregation involves unequal allocation of educational resources to different social class/ethnic groups, thereby unequally impacting their educational and social mobility opportunities.