Bankston III, Carl, & Caldas, Stephen J.
White Enrollment in Nonpublic Schools, Public School Racial Composition, and Student Performance
Tulane University, Hofstra University
Is enrollment of whites in a nonpublic system associated with racial composition? Does it makes a difference for public school that whites are elsewhere?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
The Sociological Quarterly
Vol. 41, No. 4, pp. 539-550
- There is a connection between whites being out of the public school system and a predominance of African Americans in the same districts' public schools.
- Public schools do worse than public schools students in districts with relatively few White students in nonpublic schools.
- Both of the school-level characteristics (racial composition of schools and average socioeconomic family background of students in schools) are significantly related to school performance. The greater the percentage of Black students in a school, the lower the average score of that school; conversely, the higher the average socioeconomic background of students in a school, the higher the average score.
- In districts that have many White students in nonpublic schools, the educational advantage of family socioeconomic background is less closely related to test performance, and the gap between Whites and Blacks is greater.
- The withdrawal of White students from the public school system has a negative impact on schools because it results in the concentration of minority students in public schools.
- Parents who choose to send their children to nonpublic schools, rather than public schools, can, by following their own self-interest, create an interesting and troubling sociological dilemma.
- The withdrawal of White students from the public school system is negatively related to academic achievement because it tends to concentrate minority students in public schools.
- There indeed appears to be a correlation between the percentage of White students enrolled outside of the public school system and the concentration of minority students enrolled outside of the public school system and the concentration of minority students in public schools in the same district.
- Whether White students are in public school systems or not appears to make a difference. Individual test scores are lower in districts in which the White students tend to be outside of the public school system. Further, the Black-White gap is greater in districts with many Whites in nonpublic schools.
- Heavy representation of whites in nonpublic schools is related to the school performance of students because districts with large White nonpublic school populations tend to have greater minority predominance in the public schools.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Academic Achievement, English, Language, Math, Minorities, Racial Composition
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Louisiana Public School Students
Unit of Analysis:
- 1990 U.S. Census of Population and Housing (USBC 1991)
- 1990 Annual Statistical and Financial Report of the Louisiana Department of Education (LSDE 1991)
- 1990 Louisiana Graduation Exit Examination (construct both individual variables - academic achievement as the percentage of correct answers on the test in math, English language arts, and written composition- and school level variables.
- Characteristics from school districts (spending per pupil, teacher salaries, the average teacher-student ratio, and the percentages of White and Black students in nonpublic schools) comes from the Annual Statistical and Financial Report.
- Variables such as: spending per pupil, teacher salaries, the average teacher-student ratio, and the percentage of white and black students in nonpublic schools, race, family SES., academic achievement (percentage of correct answers on the test in math, English language arts, and written composition).
- Several models: (1) association between the racial compositions of schools and school district characteristics (- DV: racial composition of public schools, - IV:degree of urbanization of districts, median household income of districts, % of blacks and whites enrolled in nonpublic schools in districts) (2) association of average student achievement in schools with school district characteristics, racial composition of schools, and the socioeconomic level of schools (- DV: average student achievement
- IV: school racial composition, per pupil spending, teacher salaries, student-teacher ratio, percent Whites/Blacks in nonpublic schools, school SES.