Working Papers

Hailey, Chantal A. “Racialized Prisms: A Randomized Experiment on Families’ Perceptions of Schools”

Under Review; Working Paper Available Upon Request

Social scientists continue to debate whether families’ avoidance of schools with higher fractions of racial outgroups results from racial animus (a pure race explanation) or their use of racial demographics as a heuristic for school characteristics (a racial proxy explanation). In this article, I propose a new explanation for these patterns. I argue that racial segregation persists, in part, because families perceive school characteristics through a racial prism, whereby their racial biases, awareness of cultural stereotypes, and racial contexts contribute to racialized perceptions of identical schools. To explore this theory, I conduct an experiment with a racially diverse sample of 900 students and parents currently choosing schools. Families provide their perceptions of, and willingness to attend, hypothetical schools that vary in racial composition, academic outcomes, and safety ratings. I find non-Black families interpret the same data differently depending on schools’ racial demographics. These racialized perceptions contribute to the effects of school race on families’ preferences. The racial prism concept demonstrates why efforts to improve school quality alone are unlikely to increase integration, and points to the importance of racialized perceptions in explaining the persistence of racial segregation.

Hailey, Chantal A., Rachel Boggs, Jalisa Broussard, Milani Flores, Brittany Murray “Parents’ Perceptions and Preferences for Schools During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from a Survey Experiment”

Under Review; Working Paper Available Upon Request

Recent efforts to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 through remote learning and mask and vaccination mandates drastically changed the school choice landscape. Our understanding of families’ preferences during the pandemic is limited, because it primarily derives from surveys asking parents about a single school characteristic. In this study, we conducted an original survey experiment in August 2021 to understand how families holistically evaluate schools. We randomly allocated school quality ratings, racial and socioeconomic demographics, and COVID-19 mitigation strategies to school profiles. We find parents least preferred virtual schools and schools where masks and vaccines were optional and most preferred schools with layered COVID-19 mitigation strategies. Importantly, parents’ preferences for schools’ COVID19 mitigation protocols varied by schools’ racial compositions

Hailey, Chantal A.  “Choosing Schools, Choosing Safety: The Role of School Safety in School Choices”

Revise and Resubmit, Working Paper Available Upon Request

American Sociological Association Section on Inequality, Poverty and Mobility: Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Award, 2018

School choice programs have grown substantially over the past 20 years, enabling families to make school choices unbounded by their residential locations. While multiple studies have documented families’ stated preferences for school safety, none has quantitatively and comprehensively examined its role in families’ actual school choice decisions. Pairing an expansive safety dataset with application data from New York City, where all students are required to choose a high school, I assess the extent to which school and neighborhood safety measures and heuristic shortcuts relate to families’ demand for schools. I find that school-specific safety measures are more predictive of school demand than neighborhood-specific measures. After accounting for other characteristics families may consider in their school choices, measures of school safety are positively associated with school demand, while measures of neighborhood safety are not. My findings also suggest that families employ heuristic shortcuts in their school choices. Lower school ratings, visual cues associated with insecurity, such as metal detectors and proximity to public housing, and higher proportions of Black students reduce school demand. Further analyses reveal that heuristic use may lead families to choose unsafe schools, while also exacerbating school racial segregation. Overall, my results demonstrate the ways in which the shortcuts individuals use in micro-decision making processes contribute to macro-patterns of segregation and inequality.

Hailey, Chantal A.  Jacob W. Faber, Jessica R. Kalbfeld, and Joscha Legewie, “The Effect of Stop and Frisk on Student Test Scores”

This research investigates an understudied contributor to racial inequality in educational out- comes: community-level law enforcement activity. Stop, Question, and Frisk (SQF) has been shown to be disproportionately concentrated in communities of color, with consequences for the psychological and physical health of adults in these neighborhoods. Just as children’s exposure to neighborhood violence is negatively associated with test scores, and neighborhood stressors adversely impact young people’s sleep, stress-levels, and, in turn, academic achievement, we hypothesize that stress associated with higher levels of SQF in a child’s neighborhood will predict academic outcomes. We pair neighborhood-level data on SQF and crime with student-level data to estimate the effects of racially- and spatially-disproportionate policing practices on observed racial disparities in academic achievement. We find that SQF volume in New York City students’ residential neighborhoods is negatively associated with standardized test scores net of crime and controlling for both school and neighborhood fixed effects.