Julia Burdick-Will: Student Mobility and Violent Crime Exposure at Baltimore City Public Elementary Schools


Monday, September 9, 2019, 12:00pm to 1:30pm


Allison Dining Room

Julia Burdick-Will, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Education, Johns Hopkins University.

Julia Burdick-WillHigh levels of school mobility are a problem in many urban districts. Many of these same districts are also dealing with high rates of violent crime.

In this study, we use six years (2010-11 to 2015-16) of administrative data from Baltimore City public elementary school students and crime data from the Baltimore Police Department to examine whether changes in violent crime at schools are associated with the likelihood of school exit.

Using school fixed-effects models to adjust for constant differences between schools, we find that students are more likely to leave following years with higher levels of violent crime at the school. These associations are strongest for students ineligible for free or reduced price meals and from safer neighborhoods.

View paper

About the speaker

Julia Burdick-Will arrived at Johns Hopkins University in 2014 with a joint appointment in Sociology and the School of Education. She received her BA and PhD in Sociology from the University of Chicago and spent two years at Brown as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Population Studies and Training Center. Her article on school violence won the 2014 James Coleman Award for the best article in the Sociology of Education from the American Sociological Association.

Julia Burdick-Will's research combines the sociology of education and urban sociology to study the roots of educational inequality and examine the dynamic connections between communities and schools that shape opportunities to learn both in and out of the classroom.

She has studied the effects of concentrated neighborhood poverty on cognitive development, the geography of elementary school openings and closings, and the impact of neighborhood and school violence on student test scores, the national distribution of school quality across urban, suburban, and rural areas, and the degree to which the increased availability of school choice may lead to the fragmentation of social life in poor neighborhoods. 

Current projects continue her exploration of the ways that disadvantaged students move between a range of neighborhood and school contexts. The first of these projects brings together administrative data from both Baltimore City and the surrounding suburban Baltimore County to examine how students change schools within and between these districts. The second project uses real-time transportation, weather, and crime data to understand the relationship between public transit, safety, and school attendance in the context of full open-enrollment policies.

Learn more about Julia Burdick-Will's research


See also: Fall 2019