Wednesday, March 2, 2016

White parents don't want to enroll their children in a school with a high proportion of black students

Racial segregation remains a persistent problem in U.S. schools. This article examines how social psychological factors—in particular, individuals’ perceptions of schools with varying demographic characteristics—may contribute to the ongoing structural problem of school segregation.

The study investigates the effects of school racial composition and several nonracial school characteristics on white parents’ school enrollment decisions for their children as well as how racial stereotypes shape the school choice process using data from a survey-based experiment designed to test ‘‘pure race’’ and ‘‘racial proxy’’ hypotheses regarding parents’ enrollment preferences.

The authors also use a measure of pro-white stereotype bias, both alone and in combination with school racial composition (percentage black).

Using logistic regression analysis, the authors find support for the ‘‘pure race’’ hypothesis. The proportion of black students in a hypothetical school has a consistent and significant inverse association with the likelihood of white parents enrolling their children in that school net of the effects of the included racial proxy measures. In addition, higher levels of pro-white stereotype bias further inhibit enrollment, particularly in schools with higher proportions of black students.

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