Straus, Ryane McAuliffe
Measuring Multi-Ethnic Desegregation
College of Saint Rose
This article proposes a new method for measuring school desegregation in multiracial districts, and uses the new method to measure the desegregation effects of magnet schools in Los Angeles.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Education and Urban Society
Vol. 42, No. 2, pp. 223-242
- While White interracial exposure decreased over the time period shown (i.e., there was a decline in the percent of White students in the average non-White student’s school), so did White enrollment.
- As Latinos became a larger share of the district (shown by Latino enrollment), non-Latino students went to school with more Latinos (shown by the increasing interracial exposure).
- Black interracial exposure decreased slightly, but not nearly at the pace as overall Black enrollment. Because of this discrepancy, the Black interracial ratio shows significant improvement, from .55 in 1981 to .71 in 1999.
- Asians are also distributed the most evenly; non-Asian students have an average of 3.68% Asian students in their schools in 1999, with an interracial ratio of .88.
- In the aggregate, multiethnic desegregation levels for LAUSD increased between 1981 and 1999.
- For all major racial and ethnic groups in LAUSD, students enrolled in magnet schools became more desegregated between 1981 and 1999.
- Using aggregate magnet school measures, LAUSD succeeded in increasing desegregation levels between 1981 and 1999.
- By 1999, the classmates of non-White students in low-White enrollment schools were only 1.55% White; the classmates of non-White students in high-White enrollment schools were 22.38% White. This suggests that considering all magnet schools together has actually hidden other trends.
- While, overall, the difference between White interracial exposure and White enrollment is declining in magnet schools, schools at the extremes are actually moving much farther apart.
- Although Latinos were nearly 70% of the district by 1999, the average non-Latino students in half of the district’s magnet schools had only 35% Latino schoolmates—half of what there would be if all students were evenly distributed.
- In 1981, a non-Asian student enrolled in a magnet location with high Asian enrollment had nearly seven times as many Asian students in his school than one enrolled at a magnet location with low Asian enrollment. This figure was nearly 11 by 1999.
Journal Article Historical Analysis
Desegregation, Latinos, Magnet Schools
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- Data for this study are taken from the State of California’s online enrollment database from the 1981-1982 academic year to the 1999-2000 academic year.
- Analysis includes separate desegregation indices for White, Black, Latino, and Asian students
- A district is desegregated (at least for White students) when the overall White enrollment matches the percent White in the average minority student’s school; that is, when the index of interracial exposure and White enrollment are the same.