Logan, John, Oakley, Deirdre, & Stowell, Jacob
School Segregation in Metropolitan Regions, 1970-2000: The Impacts of Policy Choices on Public Education
Brown University, Georgia State University
Evaluate how court orders and federal intervention affected segregation within school districts in the post-Brown period.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 113, No. 6, pp. 1611-44
- Small increases in segregation between districts were outweighed by larger declines within districts.
- Desegregation was not limited to districts and metropolitan regions where enforcement actions required it, and factors such as private schooling, district size, and inclusion of both city and suburban areas within district boundaries had stronger effects than individual court mandates.
- Segregation within districts was actually higher in metropolitan areas where larger shares of children were in districts with desegregation mandates.
- At the metropolitan level mandates did not have a salutary effect on the average within-district segregation, where court orders directly reached district policies.
- The whole pattern of enforcement of new constitutional law across the United States had a system-wide impact on nontargeted districts, even in metropolitan areas where no policy change was specifically required.
- Metropolitan areas where whites and blacks are more segregated into separate neighborhoods do not necessarily also have higher school segregation.
- The gains in segregation in the 1990s concentrated in shifts within school districts, which is where enforcement actions have almost always been targeted. There was nearly a 40% fall in segregation at this level. But these gains were partly counterbalanced by increasing between-district segregation that occurred especially between 1970 and 1990.
- White flight was of sufficient magnitude to limit gains from desegregation but not to ify them.
- Mandates were consistently associated with higher segregation within districts but lower segregation between districts within a metropolis.
- Tentative conclusion: Within-district segregation was higher in metropolitan areas with more widespread desegregation mandates because segregation itself invited judicial or executive-branch action.
- Despite to the publicity surrounding White academies, segregation at the metropolitan level had little relation to the share of children in private schools.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Brown vs Board of Education, Neighborhood, Residential Segregation, Segregation
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- Used data for elementary school district enrollment and segregation tabulated for the 1968-71 school years, and National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Common Core of Data for elementary school enrollment by race, covering the more recent school years.
- Also used the new national inventory of court actions over desegregation.
- Focus on elementary schools.
- Sample includes only Black and White students.
- DV: Metropolitan school segregation (within-district segregation, between-district segregation and overall metropolitan segregation)
- IV: Institutional arrangements (average district size, percentage elementary school children in private schools), demographic and economic factors, geographic regions, prevalence of mandated desegregation in the metropolitan region (percentage of students of all races in the metropolis who were in districts that were covered by a plan in the year in question (1970, 1990 or 2000), size of minority population, income disparity between Whites and Blacks.