Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Ending to What End? the Impact of the Termination of Court Desegregation Orders on Patterns of Residential Choice and High School Completion

Saturday, November 14, 2015 : 8:50 AM
Japengo (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

David Liebowitz, Harvard University
In a series of rulings between 1991 and 1995, the Supreme Court established standards to facilitate the release of school districts from desegregation orders. Over the next two decades, federal courts declared almost half of all districts under court order in 1991 to be “unitary”—that is, to have met their obligations to eliminate dual school systems. Since then, several studies have concluded that individual districts released from court mandates to implement race-conscious student-assignment policies experienced increases in the rates of school segregation, the sorting of more effective teachers to white students, and increases in segregative residential moves by white families. In a series of analyses, I conclude that the release of these districts from court desegregation orders had no effect on the overall rate of black-white residential segregation, but increased the rate of Hispanic residential segregation and isolation. Furthermore, the declaration of districts as unitary increased the high school status dropout rate for individuals aged 16 to 19 years-old in these districts by three to four percentage points for Hispanics, slightly over 1 percentage point for blacks, and two-and-a-half percentage points for blacks living in school districts outside the South, with no measurable impact on the white dropout rate. Taken together, these findings suggest that barring the use of race in the assignment of students to schools has deleterious effects on black and Hispanic students and the communities in which they reside.

Full Paper: