Racial and economic segregation and educational outcomes: one tale—Two cities
This paper reports the research examining racial and economic segregation of public schools in Philadelphia and Houston. Three factors effect the racial and economic composition of public schools: (1) the economic and racial/ethnic segregation of urban neighborhoods; (2) private school attendance among higher status and white students; and (3) varying rates of participation in magnet school programs. The evidence suggests that magnet school programs may attenuate racial segregation while exacerbating economic segregation. An examination of the relative importance of racial and economic composition of schools upon student achievement indicates that the economic composition of schools is the more important determinant of achievement levels. Given the propensity of magnet school programs to exacerbate socioeconomic concentrations, these programs should be reformulated.
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