Persistent school segregation means not only that children of different racial and ethnic backgrounds attend different schools but also that their schools are unequal in performance. This study documents the extent of disparities nationally in school performance between schools attended by whites and Asians compared with those attended by blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans. It further examines the geography of school inequality in two ways.
First, it analyzes the segregation of students between different types of school profiles based on racial composition, poverty, and metropolitan location. Second, it estimates the independent effects of these and other school and school district characteristics on school performance, identifying which aspects of school segregation are the most important sources of disadvantage.
A focus on schools at the bottom of the distribution, as in No Schools Left Behind, would not ameliorate wide disparities between groups that are found across the whole spectrum of school performance.