Neighborhood Inequality, School Choice, and the Changing Relationship between Schools and Local Communities
Kendra Bischoff

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Cornell University

Primary Discipline

Neighborhoods and schools are two of the primary social contexts influencing child development, educational attainment, and wellbeing. Historically, the racial and socioeconomic composition of schools and their surrounding neighborhoods have been highly correlated in the United States, in large part because most students attend school based on their residential location. However, substantial changes in the demographic composition of urban neighborhoods and in the degree of choice in urban education may be decoupling schools from their local neighborhoods. These transformations raise important questions for sociologists and education policy-makers about the evolving relationship between schools and neighborhoods, and pose new challenges for understanding how social inequality is generated and maintained.This project explores a set of questions relating to the link between school and neighborhood populations. First, my research investigates how neighborhood characteristics affect the demographic link between neighborhoods and schools. For example, in which kinds of neighborhoods is the association between neighborhood and school poverty strongest or weakest? And, how does growth in neighborhood socioeconomic advantage and school choice options affect changes in the link between schools and local communities over time? Second, I investigate whether school choice affects preferences for the racial and socioeconomic composition of neighborhoods. Although scholars have studied how school choice affects school segregation, few have directly addressed the relationship between school choice and residential segregation.
About Kendra Bischoff
Kendra Bischoff is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Cornell University. Her research focuses on social stratification and inequality, education, and urban sociology. In current and past projects, she investigates the causes and consequences of racial and economic residential segregation, the effect of school context on student outcomes, the civic aspect of K-12 education, and the changing relationship between schools and their local neighborhoods. She received her B.A. from Pomona College and her Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University where she also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Equality of Opportunity and Education in the Center for Ethics in Society. She was awarded the AERA Education Policy and Politics Outstanding Dissertation Award, and her work has been published in a variety of outlets, including the American Journal of Sociology, Demography, Urban Affairs Review, and Theory and Research in Education. Prior to graduate school, Dr. Bischoff was an Americorps volunteer in a high school in New Mexico and a researcher in the Education Policy Center at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC

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