Is School Segregation Self-perpetuating? The Roles of School Racial Context in Shaping Students’ Future School Preferences

Yuan He , University of Michigan

Six decades after the Brown. VS. Broad ruling, de-facto school segregation still continues to affect the landscape of secondary education in the United States. While the immediate effect of school segregation on students’ educational outcomes has drawn continuous attention, much less discussion has been devoted to how ongoing segregation affects youth’s race-related attitudes and preferences. In this context, this study specifically focuses on whether school racial segregation plays a role in reproducing pro-segregation racial values. The results show that, attending schools with greater racial heterogeneity is associated with lower likelihood of developing pro-segregation school preferences, even after individual-level characteristics are accounted for. My results also suggest that, the potential of racial diversity to curb pro-segregation preferences is greater among students who lacked positive interracial experiences. Thus, this study reveals one peril of current school segregation—schools lacking racial diversity might themselves become the soil in which pro-segregation ideologies are reproduced.

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 Presented in Session 150. Exposure to Violence and Aggression in Schools and Adolescent Development