Holme, Jennifer Jellison, Wells, Amy Stuart, & Revilla, Anita Tijerina
Learning Through Experience: What Graduates Gained by Attending Desegregated High Schools
Examines students' experiences from attending a desegregated high school.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Equity and Excellence in Education
Vol. 38, No. 1, pp. 14-24
- Article discusses what graduates said about the impact of attending a desegregated high school on their understanding of race and on their lives in a racially diverse society.
- Graduates only came to understand what they learned from their high school experience after they left high school.
- Almost all of the graduates felt more prepared for a racially diverse society by attending a diverse high school.
- All said high school experience gave deeper understanding of other groups and greater comfort in interracial settings. Daily, lived experience of negotiating race could not be learned through curricula or student exchange programs.
- There were important differences across racial/ethnic groups in terms of what students learned about race and how it helped them as adults.
- Manywhite graduates say that they only realized how much more comfortable they were in diverse settings when they encountered racially mixed situations after high school with a friend or spouse who had attended predominately white schools.
- Like Whites, graduates of color we interviewed said that going to a desegregated high school prepared them for a diverse society in that they had a greater sense of comfort in interracial settings.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Desegregation, Diversity, Long Term Outcomes
Case Studies, Interviews
Method of Analysis:
High School Graduates
Unit of Analysis:
Individual, School, School District
- Data consists of historical case studies and interviews with 1980 graduates from six racially diverse high schools in the U.S. 3-tiered data collection.
- First tier- historical case studies of schools and districts, including interviews w/district officials, lawyers, parents, community leaders, principals, counselors, and teachers about impact of school desegregation; documents; and archives.
- Second tier-in-depth interviews with 40-45 graduates from each high school, sampled in proportion to their high school's racial make up. Total sample was 245 (81 Black, 137 White, 21 Latino, 1 Asian, 5 other).
- Third tier- portrait interviews with 4-6 at each school, sampled for diversity and the central themes at each site.