EdPolicyWorks Speaker Series: Erica Frankenberg

Demographic Change and Longitudinal School Attendance Zone Boundary Changes in Large Suburban Districts Since 1990

  • - EDT
  • Holloway Hall (Bavaro Hall 116)


Erica Frankenberg (Ed.D., Harvard University) is a professor of education and demography in the College of Education at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests focus on racial desegregation and inequality in K-12 schools, and the connections between school segregation and other metropolitan policies.

At Penn State, Dr. Frankenberg teaches classes on education policy and politics. She is also the Director of the Center for Education and Civil Rights. Prior to joining the Penn State faculty, she was the Research and Policy Director for the Initiative on School Integration at the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA.

Dr. Frankenberg is the co-author (with Gary Orfield) of Educational Delusions? Why Choice Can Deepen Inequality and How to Make it Fair (from University of California Press); co-editor of The Resegregation of Suburban Schools: A Hidden Crisis in American Education (with Gary Orfield), from the Harvard Education Press; Integrating schools in a changing society: New policies and legal options for a multiracial generation (with Elizabeth DeBray), from the University of North Carolina Press; and co-editor of Lessons in Integration: Realizing the Promise of Racial Diversity in America’s Schools (with Gary Orfield), published by the University of Virginia Press (2007). She has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles in leading education policy journals, law reviews, and housing journals as well as writing for policy and practitioner publications.

Her work has been funded by WT Grant Foundation, Spencer Foundation, National Science Foundation, Pennsylvania Department of Education, and Center for Rural Pennsylvania. In addition to her teaching and research, she has been active with Division L of the American Educational Research Association. Dr. Frankenberg is involved with the National Coalition for School Diversity, including the group’s Research Advisory Panel. She is also a fellow of the National Education Policy Center.


We analyze the relationship between residential populations, school attendance zone boundaries (AZBs), and school enrollments in several large, countywide suburban districts in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area from 1990-2020. Focusing primarily on elementary school enrollments, these affluent districts are increasingly diverse, with fewer white students and residents. AZB changes, often due to the opening of new schools, affect a large portion of districts under study, but boundary changes are associated with only a small portion of increased segregation observed in both schools and neighborhoods since 1990. However, in some cases, AZB changes help to preserve enclaves within more diverse, larger districts.  Our findings speak to the complex, multidirectional relationships between demographic trends and AZBs in diversifying, growing suburbs.


Demographic Change and School Attendance Zone Boundary Changes: Montgomery County, Maryland, and Fairfax County, Virginia, Between 1990 and 2010

Attendance Zones in the Suburbs

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Event Sponsor

  • EdPolicyWorks
  • Virginia Education Science Training (VEST) Fellowship Program