Author: Tarasawa, Beth A.
Title: Live and Learn? Contradictions in Residential Patterns and School Demographics
University Affiliation: St. Norbet College
Research Question: To what degree do Atlanta-area racial and ethnic segregation patterns in public secondary schools reflect those in residential catchment areas?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation: Education and Urban Society
Journal Entry: Volume 44 Issue 6 Pp. 655-671
In areas with the greatest racial diversity and the most potential for diversity in schools, the racial composition of the neighborhood is not reflected in public schools.
White: White students are enrolled in public schools at a lower percentage than what is predicted by their catchment zone. When whites are clearly the majority, schools represent their catchment boundaries more so than in other areas. The difference is greatest in areas that are more racially balanced; so that whites are underrepresented in the areas you would expect equal proportions of white and nonwhite students.
African American: Percentages of African American students were higher in public schools that what catchment areas predict. Also, there are schools where African Americans comprise a small percentage of the catchment area but comprise the majority of the public high school.
Latinos: Latino students also represent lower percentages in the public high schools than their catchment areas predict. This is true at virtually every school in the sampling area.
Scholarship Type Journal Article Empirical Research
Keywords: High School, Hispanics, Neighborhood, Policy, Racial Composition, Urban Schools, White Flight
Research Designs: Geographical Data
Method of Analysis: ANOVA
Sampling Frame: Secondary schools in the Atlanta metropolitan area
Sample Types: Population
Unit of Analysis: School
Data Types: Quantitative-Cross Sectional
Attendance boundary maps were created using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and integrating the maps of school catchment areas with the 2000 block-level census data. From these catchment estimates, using census data, the proportion of high-school aged children by race and ethnicity as calculated and compared to Georgia Department of Education enrollment reports in 2000/01. The discrepancy between these two figures resulted in a calculation of racial school and residential catchment area matching. Example, 1.0 represents a perfect match between census data estimates for school racial composition and actual reported racial composition.
The sample includes 27 school districts in the 20-county metro Atlanta area.