Wells, Amy S., Holme, Jennifer, Revilla, Anita T., & Atanda, Awo K.
How Society Failed School Desegregation Policy: Looking Past the Schools to Understand Them
Columbia University; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Nevada at Las Vegas; Mathematics Policy Research, Inc.
Aims to understand why desegregation policy has failed to achieve the goals set out by Brown v. Board and how research on school desegregation has contributed to these shortcomings.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Review of Research in Education
Vol. 28, Pp. 47-99
- Majority of research on desegregation has not linked findings to broader social, political, and economic issues.
- Many studies critiquing broader social and racial stratification and discussing the impact of this inequality on public schools is theoretical and conceptual, rather than empirical.
- Research on academic achievement of students in racially mixed schools may have neglected the conditions of desegregation and the different types of desegregation plans.
- Research on long-term effects of desegregation cannot disentangle effects of the desegregated schools from peer influences.
- Research on political context and public opinion often fails to connect these broader contexts to the experiences of students and educators or how politics have compromised the goals of desegregation at the school and classroom levels.
- The authors own research attempts to correct these lacuna by examining the specific context and demographics in the daily experiences of educators and students in racially diverse schools.
- Although it has achieved many things, school desegregation has not met its original goals because the larger societal forces of housing segregation, economic inequality, and racial politics, have continued to work against it.
Journal Article Review of Literature
Desegregation, Long Term Outcomes, Policy
Literature Review, Narrative Review
Method of Analysis:
Research on school desegregation
Unit of Analysis:
- Reviews research on school desegregation effects from the post-Coleman era.
- Studies include qualitative accounts of how desegregation unfolded within schools (Oakes et al. 1996; Wells et al. 1995; Lipman 1998; Brantlinger 2003).
- Studies on policy research on standards-based reform and accountability (C. Barnes 2002; Burch 2002; Carnoy et al. 2003; Little and McLaughlin 1993).
- Studies examining the relationship between the racial composition of a school and student achievement measured by test scores.
- Studies investigating long-term effects of school desegregation studentsâ€™ life chances, mobility rates, and adult accomplishment (Wells and Crain 1994).
- Studies assessed the effect of school desegregation on relations between Blacks and Whites, such as racial attitudes or friendships (Metz 2003).
- Studies focusing on the political context and opinion polls regarding school desegregation (Mack 1968; Crain 1969; Hochschild 1984; Gaillard 1988; Orfield 1995)
- Studies that look how the specific contexts of schools and details of the policies that made them racially diverse shaped the experiences of students (Wells and Crain 1997).