Tasmin's research focuses in two areas: 1) the ways social and economic conditions shape the experiences of marginalized students, and 2) the effectiveness and implementation of policies designed to reduce inequality. Within this research agenda, she uses quantitative and qualitative methods to explore issues related to student homelessness and housing, school discipline, school choice, and teacher effectiveness. Her dissertation, supported by an American Education Research Association (AERA) & the National Science Foundation Dissertation Grant and winner of the AERA Education Politics and Policy Outstanding Dissertation Award and the USC Rossier Outstanding Dissertation Award , draws together the domains of housing and education by connecting housing affordability, housing loss, and educational outcomes across three papers.
Tasmin’s current work examines the interplay between K-12 student homelessness, housing affordability, and educational experiences. She is also examining disparities in school discipline and the implementation and effectiveness school responses to minimize disparities. Her work has been published in AERA Open, Peabody Journal of Education, Education Finance & Policy, Educational Researcher, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and the American Journal of Education.
In this study, I examine whether school and neighborhood resources influence the academic and behavioral outcomes of students experiencing homelessness in the state of Michigan. I ask: Do school and neighborhood resources operate as factors related to resiliency (i.e., promotive, risk, protective, and/or vulnerability factors) for the attendance and achievement of students experiencing homelessness? To answer this question, I draw on a seven-year data panel (2011-2012 to 2017-2018 school year) of students enrolled in public K-12 Michigan schools and I focus on six dimensions of school and neighborhood resources that might matter for resilience: 1) peer advantage, 2) teacher qualifications and experience, 3) school support personnel, 4) neighborhood advantage, 5) neighborhood educational and occupational attainment, and 6) neighborhood social services.
Working paper available soon.
A lever for improving student success? The causal effect of LIHTC on student outcomes
In this study, I examine whether the largest federal affordable housing development program, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, affects student homelessness, school and residential mobility, attendance, and academic achievement. I bring together student-level administrative data from the state of Michigan along with data from the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), Michigan State Housing Development Authority, and the Census Bureau to answer two research questions: 1) Does the development of affordable housing via LIHTC funds affect student homelessness, residential and school mobility, attendance, and achievement?; and 2) Does LIHTC have differential impacts for students who are economically disadvantaged and also targeted by educational programs (e.g., NSLP, Title I, Migrant Education Program, McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Program) or for those that live in areas that might be more sensitive to affordable housing investments (e.g., high rent burden)? I exploit a discontinuity in the LIHTC funding formula that results in additional tax credits for projects and, consequently, additional low-income units being built in qualified census tracts (QCTs). I use the quasi-experimental variation created by this discontinuity to estimate the causal effects of the program on various student outcomes.
Working paper available soon.
Selling the savior narrative: A critical discourse analysis of institutional scripts in high school websites
This study uses a critical discourse analytical approach to examine school websites as symbolic artifacts. Data are drawn from 13 high school websites from a mid-sized urban district that has implemented several market-based reforms and has a centralized school choice model. We employed the concept of scripts from institutional theory to analyze what messages these websites communicate about the roles of different educational actors, how these messages relate to existing societal power dynamics, and how they relate to the school model or school demographics. For students and educators, the sites expressed a common set of expectations related to deficit orientations, while the school and educators were offered as the solution to this deficiency. This common framework manifested in four distinct patterns, which we describe as the savior, cultivation, assimilation, and marketplace scripts. We also find patterns in terms of roles for parents, variation in whether educators are visible actors within the school organization, and how issues of culture, diversity, and inclusion were described on websites. By critically examining school websites and other semiotic materials, leaders and other stakeholders can work to “root out” potentially harmful assumptions and narratives, and envision alternatives that offer empowerment and transformation. We conclude by offering strategies for school leaders and leadership preparation programs to employ CDA as a tool for challenging deeply ingrained institutionalized patterns.
Working paper available soon.
Selected Recent Publications
Growing up homeless: Student homelessness and educational outcomes in Los Angeles, Educational Researcher
Putting homelessness in context: The schools and neighborhoods of students experiencing homelessness, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
The number of K–12 students experiencing homelessness is increasing across the country. Schools may serve as sources of support and stability for homeless children, but little is known about the types of schools that homeless students attend or about the communities in which they live. We investigate the context of student homelessness in Los Angeles by analyzing student-level administrative data from the Los Angeles Unified School District and publicly available data on neighborhoods and schools from school years 2008–2009 to 2016–2017. Our findings suggest that homeless students tend to be clustered within lower-achieving schools with higher concentrations of disadvantaged student groups and live in neighborhoods with higher concentrated disadvantage. Despite policy provisions to ensure stability, homeless students have high rates of school and residential mobility in the years they are homeless, and mobile students tend to move to less-disadvantaged schools. We conclude with policy implications to strengthen the implementation of the federal McKinney-Vento Act.
Bias in the air: A nationwide exploration of teachers’ implicit racial attitudes, aggregate bias, and student outcomes, Educational Researcher
Theory suggests that teachers’ implicit racial attitudes affect their students, but large-scale evidence on U.S. teachers’ implicit biases and their correlates is lacking. Using nationwide data from Project Implicit, we found that teachers’ implicit White/Black biases (as measured by the implicit association test) vary by teacher gender and race. Teachers’ adjusted bias levels are lower in counties with larger shares of Black students. In the aggregate, counties in which teachers hold higher levels of implicit and explicit racial bias have larger adjusted White/Black test score inequalities and White/Black suspension disparities.
Educators’ beliefs and perceptions of implementing restorative practices, Education & Urban Society
Many urban school districts are adopting restorative practices (RP) as a means to reduce suspensions and resolve racial discipline gaps. In this study, we use a sensemaking framework to examine educators’ beliefs about discipline and their perceptions of RP and its implementation. We draw on survey responses (N = 363) administered after educators attended RP trainings in a large, diverse county in California. Our results show the majority of respondents possess beliefs or an understanding of RP that are compatible with the goals of the approach. Survey respondents cite challenges to implementing RP that are at times consistent (e.g., lack of time) and at times at odds (e.g., relatively low emphasis on lack of leadership as a hindrance) with the current literature. As suggested by sensemaking theory, we find attitudes and beliefs are predictors of educators’ experiences implementing RP, including challenges to implementation and effects of the practices.
Institutional logics in Los Angeles schools: Do multiple models disrupt the grammar of schooling? American Journal of Education
The structure of US public education is changing. Rather than exclusive district management of schools with standardized programs, new types of systems have emerged. In the case of “portfolio” systems, advocates argue that choice, performance-based accountability, and autonomy challenge traditional schooling and foster a diversity of options for parents. Yet there is limited empirical evidence on these claims. Our mixed-methods study examines the values and reported practices of schools in Los Angeles. We find limited evidence of variation across schools. Rather, institutional forces appear to be shaping common commitments to academics, whole child support, community, and professionalism, with some fine-grained differences connected to organizational characteristics. Ultimately, this lack of diversity and the complexity of multiple logics do not appear to challenge the idea of a shared “grammar of schooling” across schools. This research advances our understanding of institutional logics in schools and provides implications for policy and future research.
The rural-nonrural divide? K-12 district spending and implications of equity-based school funding, AERA Open
In the 2013–2014 school year, the state of California implemented a new equity-minded funding system, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). LCFF increased minimum per-pupil funding for educationally underserved students and provided greater autonomy in allocating resources. We use the implementation of LCFF to enrich our understanding of rural school finance and explore the implications of equity-based school finance reform across urbanicity (i.e., between rural, town, suburban, and urban districts) and between rural areas of different remoteness. Drawing on 15 years of financial data from California school districts, we find variation in the funding levels of rural districts but few differences in the ways resources are allocated and only modest evidence of constrained spending in rural areas. Our results suggest that spending progressivity (i.e., spending advantage of higher-poverty districts) has increased since LCFF, although progressivity is lowest in rural districts by the end of the data panel.