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Federal Oversight, Local Control, and the Specter of "Resegregation" in Southern Schools

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  • Charles T. Clotfelter
  • Helen F. Ladd
  • Jacob L. Vigdor

Abstract

Analyzing data for the 100 largest school districts in the South and Border states, we ask whether there is evidence of "resegregation" of school districts and whether levels of segregation can be linked to judicial decisions. We distinguish segregation measures indicating the extent of racial isolation from those indicating the degree of racial imbalance across schools. For the period 1994 to 2004 the trend in only one measure of racial isolation is consistent with the hypothesis that districts in these regions are resegregating. Yet the increase in this measure appears to be driven by the general increase in the nonwhite percentage in the student population rather than policy-determined increases in racial imbalance. Racial imbalance itself shows no trend over this period. Racial imbalance is nevertheless associated with judicial declarations of unitary status, suggesting that segregation in schools might have declined had it not been for the actions of federal courts. This estimated relationship is subject to a lag, which is in keeping with the tendency for courts to grant unitary status only if districts agree to limit their own freedom to reassign students.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11086.

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Date of creation: Jan 2005
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Publication status: published as Charles T. Clotfelter & Jacob L. Vigdor & Helen F. Ladd, 2006. "Federal Oversight, Local Control, and the Specter of "Resegregation" in Southern Schools," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 347-389.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11086

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  1. Charles T. Clotfelter, 1999. "Public School Segregation in Metropolitan Areas," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 75(4), pages 487-504.
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Cited by:
  1. David A. Weiner & Byron F. Lutz & Jens Ludwig, 2009. "The Effects of School Desegregation on Crime," NBER Working Papers 15380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jacob L. Vigdor, 2006. "The New Promised Land: Black-White Convergence in the American South, 1960-2000," NBER Working Papers 12143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Nathaniel Baum-Snow & Byron Lutz, 2008. "School desegregation, school choice and changes in residential location patterns by race," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2008-57, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Jacob Vigdor & Jens Ludwig, 2007. "Segregation and the Black-White Test Score Gap," NBER Working Papers 12988, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Robert Bifulco & Jason M. Fletcher & Stephen L. Ross, 2009. "The Effect of Classmate Characteristics on Individual Outcomes: Evidence from the Add Health," Working papers 2009-15, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  6. Rucker C. Johnson, 2011. "Long-run Impacts of School Desegregation & School Quality on Adult Attainments," NBER Working Papers 16664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Byron F. Lutz, 2005. "Post Brown vs. the Board of Education: the effects of the end of court-ordered desegregation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-64, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Stephen Gibbons & Shqiponja Telhaj, 2006. "Are schools drifting apart? Intake stratification in English secondary schools," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19420, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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