Schools can be a leading indicator of neighborhood change. School change often precedes and is more rapid than neighborhood change because families with children are a relatively mobile part of the population. Students also can exercise mobility by choosing private or religious schools or various open-enrollment options without changing residences.

The Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity (and its predecessors) has produced research analyzing:

  • Segregation by race and income in America's schools;
  • Fiscal stress in local school districts;
  • Performance of charter schools;
  • Relationships between school and neighborhood transition; and
  • Public policies to reduce racial and income disparities in school/student performance.

This work has been utilized by a wide variety of local and state authorities to:

  • Design pro-integrative attendance areas;
  • Reform school finance/state aid systems;
  • Design new ways to encourage inter-district cooperation to reduce racial and economic disparities; and
  • Link housing policy to conditions in local schools.

These studies are broken into the following categories: