Faculty News

Huriya Jabbar awarded major grant to explore links between housing policies and school integration and desegregation

Grant awarded by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in the Behavioral Sciences.

By Kianoosh Hashemzadeh Published on

The USC Rossier School of Education is pleased to announce that Associate Professor Huriya Jabbar has been awarded a $442,340 grant from the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in the Behavioral Sciences for her project, “Moving in Motown: Examining Promise of Integrated Neighborhoods and Schools Through Detroit’s Choice Neighborhood Initiative.” The award was granted as a part of AIR’s School Integration and Equity 2.0: Tools and Strategies Grant Competition.

The award will support Jabbar’s continued work to explore links between housing policy and educational opportunities. The research team, which includes co-principal investigators, Kara Finnigan, University of Michigan; DeMarcus Jenkins, University of Pennsylvania; and Sarah Winchell Lenhoff, Wayne State University, will study the implementation of the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI) in the Detroit neighborhood of Corktown and its impact on school diversity and community integration.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the CNI was created in 2010 to strengthen community cohesion by creating opportunities for community organizations and agencies to collaborate. The study aims to build on the idea that “housing policy is education policy,” by examining how various stakeholders collaborate throughout the implementation of the CNI. The team will do this by tapping into their deep connections in Detroit, conducting interviews with key actors and residents, conducting network analyses, examining project implementation documents and observing community meetings. Through the study, the team will explore CNI implementation with an eye toward building theories and best practices on how federal programs like this “can transform and integrate neighborhoods and schools.”

“We believe that fostering true integration in communities and schools requires a radical transformation of systems,” said Jabbar. The team will examine what conditions foster authentic relationships across differences and in pursuit of shared goals, where conflicts emerge and how they can learn from the politics and power dynamics in this case to enhance community voice and democratic processes. “We are so excited to explore these and other questions through this grant and to inform future desegregation efforts and cross-sector collaborations,” she said.

The 12-month study is set to begin in summer 2024 and conclude in summer 2025 when the team plans to present their final findings to Corktown residents, city officials, and district staff.

About Huriya Jabbar
Huriya Jabbar is an associate professor of education policy at USC Rossier. Her research uses sociological and critical theories to examine how policies in PK–12 and higher education shape inequality, opportunity and democracy in the U.S. She is currently studying school choice policy and school leaders' behavioral responses to competition; teacher job choices, recruitment, and retention; and how investments in public housing can transform educational and economic opportunities for historically marginalized communities. Jabbar’s work has been published in numerous academic journals, and she is currently an associate editor at the American Educational Research Journal.

Her recent research includes a study funded by a $1 million grant from the Spencer Foundation, in collaboration with Jennifer Holme, that examines how improvement in schools and organizations can be impeded by staff turnover and reproduce structural inequalities in education. The Spencer Foundation also awarded Jabbar a $75,000 grant earlier this year for her research examining the effects of blending school and housing policies to bolster housing stability for vulnerable families.

About USC Rossier School of Education
USC Rossier School of Education prepares educational leaders to tackle inequities through research, policy, and practice. With a focus on urban settings and marginalized groups, USC Rossier emphasizes cultural context and innovative solutions to complex challenges.

About AIR
Established in 1946, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education, and the workforce. AIR's work is driven by its mission to generate and use rigorous evidence that contributes to a better, more equitable world. With headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, AIR has offices across the U.S. and abroad. For more information, visit https://www.air.org.

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