Rickles, Jordan, Ong, Paul M., & Houston, Doug
School Integration and Residential Segregation in California: Challenges for Racial Equity
Analyzed elementary schools in five California metropolitan areas to examine the extent that the racial composition of schools deviates from neighborhood compositions, and investigate the potential for schools to promote racial integration.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
UCACCORD Public Policy Series
- On average, the racial composition of regular public elementary schools mirrors the racial composition of the local neighborhood.
- As predicted, residential housing patterns are a major determinant of metropolitan-wide levels of school segregation.
- Regular public elementary schools in the Los Angeles-Long Beach metro area were, on average, slightly more integrated than their local neighborhoods.
- Schools in the other four metropolitan areas were, on average, slightly less integrated than their neighborhood, with the Vallejo-Fairfield-Napa metro area experiencing the lowest level of relative integration.
- Magnet schools, on average, are significantly more integrated than regular schools and charter schools are significantly less integrated then regular schools.
- Almost 30 percent of charter schools are less integrated than the surrounding neighborhood, while less than ten percent of regular and magnet schools fall into this category.
- About 20 percent of magnet schools are more integrated than the surrounding neighborhood, while less than ten percent of regular and charter schools fall into this category.
- Differences between regular, magnet, and charter schools persists even after statistically controlling for other metropolitan, district, school, and neighborhood characteristics that might affect relative levels of integration.
Charter Schools, Integration, Magnet Schools, Neighborhood, Racial Composition, Residential Segregation
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- Addresses the following research questions: Do children attend schools that are more or less racially mixed than their neighborhoods? How do magnet and charter schools influence levels of school segregation?
- Five metropolitan areas in California were selected for intra-metropolitan analysis of school and neighborhood integration: Los Angeles-Long Beach, San Diego, San Jose, Vallejo-Fairfield-Napa, and Yuba City
- Racial integration measured by calculating index for each public elementary school in the five study MSAs and calculating a comparable integration index for the school’s approximated attendance area. Index indicates the relative degree to which each school’s (or neighborhood’s) racial composition is representative of the overall metropolitan area composition.
- Perfectly integrated school (or neighborhood) defined as one where the racial composition is identical to the overall racial composition of the metropolitan area.
- DV: Racial composition of schools
- IV: Racial composition of neighborhoods