Garcia, David R.
The Impact of School Choice on Racial Segregation in Charter Schools
Arizona State University
This study examines the impact of school choice on the degree of racial segregation by comparing
the conditions in the district schools students exited to the conditions in the charter schools they entered the following year.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Vol. 22, No. 6, pp. 805-829
- At the elementary level, White students constitute 59% of elementary charter school choosers and Hispanic students constitute approximately 19% on average across all years.
- On entry into high school, White students constitute approximately 45% of charter school choosers, and the average percentage of Hispanic choosers increases to approximately 32%.
- Across all grade levels, students exited district schools with more exposure to students from other racial/ethnic groups to attend charter schools with less exposure.
- Overall, students exited district schools in which the average White student was exposed to 30% minority students to attend charter schools in which the average White student was exposed to 18% minority students.
- When results are disaggregated by grade level, elementary schools in both sectors are more segregated than high schools, and the differences between grade levels are more pronounced in charter schools than in district schools.
- When results are disaggregated by grade level, both elementary and high school choosers exit more racially integrated district schools to enter more segregated charter schools, particularly at the elementary grade level.
- White students, the largest group of charter school choosers, attended charter elementary schools that consist of 10% more White students on average than the district schools they exited. This pattern of White concentration does not hold on entry into high school, however, where White charter school choosers exited district schools and entered charter schools with much more similar percentages of White students.
- On average, Black elementary students on average entered charter elementary schools enrolling 29% Black students than the district schools they exited. On entry into high school, however, Black students chose to attend charter high schools enrolling Black populations similar to the district schools they exited.
Journal Article Historical Analysis
Charter Schools, Choice, Racial Composition, Segregation
Method of Analysis:
Arizona public schools
Unit of Analysis:
- Uses a statewide database to track the school attendance patterns of Arizona students from 1997 to 2000
- Student records are from the Stanford Achievement Test, Ninth Edition (SAT9) and the Aprenda2 test and are linked across the four years of the study.
- Sample includes records for second thru ninth grade.
- The study is focused on school choice decisions during most elementary school years and the initial school choice decision on entering high school.
- Student race/ethnicity information is acquired through the test records.
- In total, the database includes 846,548 unique, linked, student test records for the years 1997 to 2000
- Racial segregation is measured using the interracial exposure index which reflects the degree to which the average student in the reference group attends the same school as students from the context group.
- DV: Choice to attend charter school
- IV: Racial composition of school, race of student, type of school attended