This project seeks to evaluate the Harlem Children?s Zone (HCZ), an intervention that has the potential to alleviate the racial achievement gap in education. The HCZ is a 97-block area in central Harlem that attempts to address the problems that poor children are facing ? from crumbling apartments to failing schools and violent crime to chronic health problems ? through a ?conveyor belt? of services from birth to college. This provides a unique laboratory to understand the merits of early versus late intervention. By combing high quality schools with a web of community services, HCZ also provides an ideal setting to understand how communities, schools, or a combination of the two might serve as main drivers of youth outcomes. The answers to these questions are of tremendous importance for domestic policy as it goes to the heart of how communities and public goods should be allocated to alleviate racial and economic inequality.
SRO will attempt to conduct a one-hour interview with approximately 430 youths from two cohorts who originally applied to the Children?s Zone school (Promise Academy) when they were entering 6th grade. The students will be in 11th or 12th grade during the 2011-2012 school year. A lottery determined which of these students were admitted to the Promise Academy and which were not. Interviews will be conducted with both Promise Academy students and a random sample of those who were not admitted to the Promise Academy and are now attending other local New York City schools. SRO will work with Harvard to develop the survey questionnaire which will be based on the Moving to Opportunity questionnaires and other existing instruments.