Working paper

Examining Racial (In)equity in School-Closure Patterns in California

Francis A. Pearman II
Stanford Graduate School of Education
Camille Luong
Stanford University
Danielle Marie Greene
Independent Scholar


This study investigates racial disparities in school closures both within California and nationally. Findings highlight an alarming pattern: Schools enrolling higher proportions of Black students are at significantly increased risk of closure relative to those enrolling fewer Black students, a pattern that is more pronounced in California than elsewhere in the United States. This study also finds that conventional explanations for school closures—such as declining enrollments, poverty rates, and achievement differences—cannot fully account for why schools enrolling larger shares of Black students have greater odds of closure. These findings underscore that school closures in California and elsewhere reflect racial inequalities that require adequate policymaking to ensure equitable and fair school-closure proceedings.

This publication is part of a three-piece PACE series that examines racial disproportionality in school closures in California in the wake of declining student enrollment. In addition to this piece, there is a report and a policy brief.

Suggested citation
Pearman, F. A., II, Luong, C., & Greene, M. D. (September, 2023). Examining racial (In)Equity in school-closure patterns in California [Working paper]. Policy Analysis for California Education.