This chapter considers the simplest explanation for the troubles of inner-city schooling: less money and more needy students. Based on well-known economic and demographic changes during the period after World War II, this explanation posits that school resources declined because the tax base eroded as industry and middle-class families moved out of the city. The schools faced an influx of disadvantaged students because economic conditions deteriorated and impoverished southern black migrants moved into the city, while the more affluent families moved out. If true, this account would still leave one with questions: why, for instance, did the problems of inner-city schooling take the specific form they did? However, at least for Chicago through 1960, trends in school funding and student disadvantage do not match popular conceptions of the postwar period. The chapter examines trends in school resources, relating these to the economic history of the city and to institutional change in the schools.
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