Author: Frankenberg, Erica

Title: Splintering School Districts: Understanding the Link Between Segregation and Fragmentation

University Affiliation: University of California Los Angeles


Research Question: Given what we know about the link between metropolitan areas with many districts and school segregation, how does the creation of school district boundaries in metropolitan areas affect the racial segregation of students?

Published: Yes

Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation: Law and Social Inquiry

Journal Entry: Vol.34, No.4, Pp. 869-909

Year: 2009


  1. The Supreme court limited the extend of desegregation remedies in the Milliken vs. Bradley (1974) which ruled that unless the suburban communities or the state contributed to the segregation that left the communities heavily minority the suburbs could not be included in the remedy. This court case effectively limited the scope of desegregation in metro areas. Boundaries served to maintain the White, privileged nature of the population.
  2. The boundaries created in the school district locked Birmingham’s population into a declining population that are poor and minority. As the districts diverged the segregation between the districts grew and many of the schools on Jefferson County were predominately one race.
  3. School segregation in Jefferson county remains high but today segregation is largely a matter of boundary lines. This case study challenges the theory that educational choice will provide high quality educational choices for all.

Scholarship Type Journal Article Empirical Research

Keywords: Desegregation, Neighborhood, SES Composition, Segregation

Regions National

Methodologies: Qualitative

Research Designs: Case Studies, Interviews

Method of Analysis: Case Studies

Sampling Frame: Jefferson County School District

Sample Types: Nonrandom

Unit of Analysis: School District

Data Types: Qualitative

Data Description: Data was compiled by the office of Civil Rights and the National Center for educational statistics Census Data from 1960 to 2000 Interviews conducted by the author with local school district officials


Entry Created at: 2015-02-11 17:47:56 UTC
Last Update: 2017-06-19 20:43:07 UTC